Swan vs. Duck

Difference Between Swan And Duck

 

Swan

swan is the largest of all flying birds. They are members of the Anatidae, or waterfowl, family. Geese and ducks also belong to this family. The seven or eight species of swans live on wetlands throughout the world.

Characteristics of Swans

Swans have stout bodies. They weigh from about 7 pounds (3 kilograms) to more than 46 pounds (21 kilograms). Like geese, the male and female swans have identical coloring, which is usually white. They have short legs with webbed feet that help them swim and dive. And they have strong bills with special serrations used to strain food from the water.

The outer feathers of a swan are oily. The oil is produced by a preen gland located just over the tail. The swan uses its bill to work the oil into its feathers. This is called preening. Preening waterproofs the feathers.

Beneath a swan’s outer feathers is a lining of down (small fluffy feathers) plus a layer of fat, which provide insulation. Because the oiled outer feathers do not allow water to pass through, the inner lining of down rarely gets wet. So swans can swim and still remain warm and dry during the winter.

Once a year swans replace their feathers. This is called molting.

Like other waterfowl, swans imprint. This means that a baby swan will identify anything near it after hatching—from a chicken to a human being—as its parent. It is difficult to return orphaned birds to the wild once they are imprinted by anything other than their natural parents.

Like diving ducks and geese, swans must run, either on land or atop the water, for a short distance before becoming airborne. They fly in V-patterns on long flights. Most species that breed in the Northern Hemisphere migrate in the fall to warmer areas in the south.

Duck

Duck is the name given to most of the smaller species of wildfowl in the family Anatidae, order Anseriformes, or gooselike birds. Other members of this order are the screamers, geese (see goose), and swans. The word duck does not, however, with any precise taxonomic classification. Some ducks are commonly called geese—for example, the pygmy goose and the maned goose—and some, such as the merganser, are called neither duck nor goose.

General Characteristics

Ducks are freshwater and marine birds that have streamlined bodies and sleek, waterproof plumage. The feathers of the male, or drake, of many genera have striking color patterns that are sometimes iridescent. A duck’s front toes are fully webbed for swimming and diving; on land, a duck waddles because its legs are placed far apart and usually well to the rear. Many ducks are excellent fliers and migrate thousands of miles between breeding and winter grounds. The bill is typically spatulate and has a rounded tip. Lamellae (bony plates) or serrations (teethlike notches) on the inner edge of each jaw are used to strain small plants and animals from water or to hold food such as fish.

Ducks lay 2 to 16 eggs in nests located on the ground, in tree holes, in rock clefts, or in burrows. In each case, materials available at the nest site are used. Ducks that burrow cannot dig holes for themselves and occupy former nesting sites of animals such as woodpeckers or rabbits. The nests are usually lined with down feathers, which the incubating female plucks from her breast. Newly hatched young, known as ducklings, are precocial: they are covered with down, feed themselves, and are capable of swimming.

Most ducks molt their body feathers twice annually. Many drakes produce eclipse plumage during summer, when they lose flight feathers as well as body feathers. When they have eclipse plumage, the usually brightly hued drakes resemble the drab females. Flight feathers of both sexes are molted only once a year, during which time (3 to 4 weeks) the birds cannot fly.

 

Swan

swan is the largest of all flying birds. They are members of the Anatidae, or waterfowl, family. Geese and ducks also belong to this family. The seven or eight species of swans live on wetlands throughout the world.

Characteristics of Swans

Swans have stout bodies. They weigh from about 7 pounds (3 kilograms) to more than 46 pounds (21 kilograms). Like geese, the male and female swans have identical coloring, which is usually white. They have short legs with webbed feet that help them swim and dive. And they have strong bills with special serrations used to strain food from the water.

The outer feathers of a swan are oily. The oil is produced by a preen gland located just over the tail. The swan uses its bill to work the oil into its feathers. This is called preening. Preening waterproofs the feathers.

Beneath a swan’s outer feathers is a lining of down (small fluffy feathers) plus a layer of fat, which provide insulation. Because the oiled outer feathers do not allow water to pass through, the inner lining of down rarely gets wet. So swans can swim and still remain warm and dry during the winter.

Once a year swans replace their feathers. This is called molting.

Like other waterfowl, swans imprint. This means that a baby swan will identify anything near it after hatching—from a chicken to a human being—as its parent. It is difficult to return orphaned birds to the wild once they are imprinted by anything other than their natural parents.

Like diving ducks and geese, swans must run, either on land or atop the water, for a short distance before becoming airborne. They fly in V-patterns on long flights. Most species that breed in the Northern Hemisphere migrate in the fall to warmer areas in the south.

Duck

Duck is the name given to most of the smaller species of wildfowl in the family Anatidae, order Anseriformes, or gooselike birds. Other members of this order are the screamers, geese (see goose), and swans. The word duck does not, however, with any precise taxonomic classification. Some ducks are commonly called geese—for example, the pygmy goose and the maned goose—and some, such as the merganser, are called neither duck nor goose.

General Characteristics

Ducks are freshwater and marine birds that have streamlined bodies and sleek, waterproof plumage. The feathers of the male, or drake, of many genera have striking color patterns that are sometimes iridescent. A duck’s front toes are fully webbed for swimming and diving; on land, a duck waddles because its legs are placed far apart and usually well to the rear. Many ducks are excellent fliers and migrate thousands of miles between breeding and winter grounds. The bill is typically spatulate and has a rounded tip. Lamellae (bony plates) or serrations (teethlike notches) on the inner edge of each jaw are used to strain small plants and animals from water or to hold food such as fish.

Ducks lay 2 to 16 eggs in nests located on the ground, in tree holes, in rock clefts, or in burrows. In each case, materials available at the nest site are used. Ducks that burrow cannot dig holes for themselves and occupy former nesting sites of animals such as woodpeckers or rabbits. The nests are usually lined with down feathers, which the incubating female plucks from her breast. Newly hatched young, known as ducklings, are precocial: they are covered with down, feed themselves, and are capable of swimming.

Most ducks molt their body feathers twice annually. Many drakes produce eclipse plumage during summer, when they lose flight feathers as well as body feathers. When they have eclipse plumage, the usually brightly hued drakes resemble the drab females. Flight feathers of both sexes are molted only once a year, during which time (3 to 4 weeks) the birds cannot fly.

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