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Duck vs. Swan: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 14, 2024
Ducks are smaller, often noisy waterfowl with a broad body and short neck, while swans are larger, elegant birds with long necks and usually silent in nature.

Key Differences

Ducks are smaller waterfowl with a characteristic broad, squat body and short necks. Swans are noticeably larger and more graceful with long, slender necks and larger bodies.
Ducks are adaptable, found in both fresh and saltwater, often seen in groups and known for their quacking. Swans prefer larger bodies of fresh water, are more solitary or seen in pairs, and are generally quieter.
Ducks exhibit varied mating behaviors, often with bright plumage in males during mating season. Swans are known for their lifelong monogamous pair bonds, often symbolizing love and fidelity.
Ducks are omnivorous, feeding on a varied diet including plants and small aquatic creatures. Swans predominantly feed on aquatic vegetation, dipping their long necks underwater.
Ducks are often seen in popular culture, represented in various media and as children's characters. Swans hold a more elegant and symbolic representation in literature and ballet, like the famous "Swan Lake."

Comparison Chart


Shorter word, one syllable.
Longer word, one syllable.


Pronounced as /dʌk/.
Pronounced as /swɒn/.

Usage in Sentences

Often used to describe common waterfowl or actions.
Used to describe elegance, grace, or monogamy.


A shorter, sharper sound.
A longer, more rounded sound.

Linguistic Associations

Associated with commonality and familiarity.
Linked with beauty, elegance, and loyalty.

Duck and Swan Definitions


Duck refers to the action of lowering one's head or body.
He had to duck to avoid the low-hanging branch.


A large, elegant waterbird with a long neck.
The swan glided gracefully across the lake.


A waterbird with a broad body and short neck.
The duck quacked loudly as it waddled along the pond.


The phrase “swan song” denotes a final gesture or performance.
His last novel was his swan song before retirement.


In sports, a duck denotes a score of zero in cricket.
He was disappointed to get out for a duck in today's game.


In mythology, swans are often associated with transformation.
The story told of a princess transformed into a swan.


A term used in various phrases like “duck out” to mean evade or avoid.
She decided to duck out of the meeting early.


Used in ballet, the term swan represents a role or dance style.
She performed the swan role beautifully in Swan Lake.


Used colloquially to refer to someone fondly or familiarly.
Come here, my little duck, and see what I've got for you.


Swan symbolizes beauty, grace, and love in literature and art.
Their relationship was like a swan's, loyal and enduring.


Any of various wild or domesticated waterbirds of the family Anatidae, characteristically having a broad flat bill, short legs, and webbed feet.


Any of various large waterbirds of the genera Cygnus and Coscoroba of the family Anatidae, having webbed feet, a long slender neck, and usually white plumage.


Swan See Cygnus.


Can "duck" be a verb?

Yes, it means to lower the head or body quickly.

Is "duck" used in any idioms?

Yes, like "water off a duck's back" meaning criticism doesn't affect someone.

What is the plural of "duck"?

The plural is "ducks."

Can "duck" be an affectionate term?

In some regions, it's used as a term of endearment.

What does "duck" mean in cricket?

A score of zero by a batsman.

Is "duck" used in cooking terminology?

Yes, it refers to the meat of the duck.

Is "duck" ever used negatively?

Rarely, but it can imply someone is avoiding something.

What symbolizes a swan in literature?

Often grace, beauty, and love.

Are there different species of ducks?

Yes, there are numerous species, like Mallards and Wood Ducks.

What is a baby duck called?

A duckling.

Are swans migratory birds?

Some species, like the Tundra Swan, are migratory.

Are all swans white?

No, the Black Swan is a notable exception.

Are swans featured in ballet?

Yes, notably in "Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky.

What habitat do ducks prefer?

They are commonly found in water bodies like lakes and ponds.

What is the plural of "swan"?

The plural is "swans."

What's a baby swan called?

A cygnet.

Do swans mate for life?

Many species are monogamous and mate for life.

Is "swan" used in any famous phrases?

Yes, "swan song," meaning a final gesture or performance.

Can swans be aggressive?

Yes, they can be very territorial.

What's unique about a swan's neck?

Swans are known for their long, graceful necks.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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