Duck vs Swan: 7 Differences

Duck vs Swan

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The Duck and Swans are the most beloved and widely adopted members of the Anatidae family.

These members of the Anatidae family belong to the same group called the biological order Anseriformes.

Therefore, they are believed to have some similarities and of course a few differences.

Want to know how Ducks and Swans are similar and at the same time how these aquatic birds are different?

Duck vs Swan

Here are many differences

Origin and history

There are hundreds of Duck and Swan breeds found in the world, each Duck and Swan breed is unique and has a different origin.

The Ducks and Swan’s history started way several hundred thousand years back.

Before being domesticated, all Duck breeds used to live in the wild.

Almost all Duck breeds that astonish us every day are somehow the descendants of Wild Mallard Ducks.

These Ducks were first kept by Egyptians then Southeast Asians and Romans also started raising them in captivity as well.

Till 19 century, Ducks were being commonly raised. Most of these aquatic birds were being solely raised for highly nutritional meat and eggs.

As the trend of adopting birds and animals as pets begins to increase, ducks started being adopted as a pet as well.

Even though, Ducks are tricky to raise yet several million ducks are living luxurious lives as a pet.

Swans are less common and far less beloved than Ducks. Therefore, there is not much reliable information about these aquatic birds.

However, it is believed that Swans kept living in the wild for several thousand years.

Just when the trend of keeping Ducks started increasing, people took interest in raising swans for the same reason. That’s how their domestication started.


The prominent members of the Anatidae family; Swans, Geese, and Ducks look breathtakingly identical.

However, they are not hard to distinguish either. All duck breeds have stout bodies, shorter necks, water-proof feathers, bluish-grey legs, and webbed feet.

Whereas Swans are a bit larger heavier aquatic birds have streamlined bodies, graceful elongated curved necks, blackish-grey legs, and comparatively bigger webbed feet.

Though, Swans are larger than Ducks. However, there is one thing that Swans and Ducks have in common.

Therefore whether it’s Ducks or Swans, the males of both aquatic birds are larger and heavier as compared to the females. What distinguishes Swans and Ducks the most are the size and the structure of their necks.


Swans and Ducks do not have “very” different habits, if they had they would not have been a part of the same family and group.

Both Swans and Ducks are categorized as aquatic birds therefore, they prefer living closer to the water.

Swans nest on Islands, reed beds, and dense vegetation close to lakes, wetlands, marshes, slow-moving rivers, and streams. Domestic swans are costly as compared to ducks.

The Duck’s case is no different, these aquatic birds also find a home in wetlands near rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams.


Since Ducks and Swans belong to the same family and group, their eating habits can not be breathtakingly different.

The wild Ducks eat in winter almost all kinds of grains, grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates they find in the wild.

However, the domestic Ducks mainly derive nutrients from beetles, flies, ants, moths, aphids, grasshoppers, crickets, oats, rice, bird seeds, frozen peas, cracked corns, lettuce, grapes, and some fresh fruits and vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, shredded carrots, and cucumbers, etc.

Whereas the other closely related bird wild Swans eat aquatic vegetation, grass, small fishes, frogs, and worms.

The domestic Swans devour grains such as wheat, vegetable matter such as potatoes and lettuce, grasses, water plants, insects, and mollusks.

To sum up, in a line, Ducks prefer eating aquatic animals the most whereas, the Swans prefer eating grasses and aquatic plants more.

They munch on aquatic animals only when they can not find grasses or aquatic plants sufficient for the need.


The one reason why Swans are hardly preferred over ducks is their unsuitable behavior.

Swans are a little aggressive and known for attacking humans, nesting Swans are even more serious cases.

They are even hostile to their kind. Whereas, the Ducks are also super unpredictable however they happen to form close bonds with fellow birds and humans much faster than Swans.


The wild and domestic members of the Anatidae family known as ducks usually live up to 10 years.

Whereas, the Swans can survive 12 years in captivity and can live to 30 years in the wild.


Swans are banned from table fare, they are difficult to hunt as well due to bulletproof feathers.

We usually raise Swans as a pet or ornaments. Eating Swan eggs is not a common practice, however, in some countries, one or two Swans are raised in the backyard for eggs as well.

It is said that Swan eggs stuffed with salad are super delicious. Whereas, Ducks are usually raised for meat and eggs and occasionally as pets.

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