Can ducks fly as high as geese?

Though geese are heavy birds, yet, they can fly fast; over 30 miles per hour. Geese utilize their powerful wing beats to fly instead of gliding like vultures or eagles and it requires a large amount of energy.

Geese’s exact flying altitude varies with breed. Generally, geese fly at a height of over 15,000 ft and some species can fly as high as 23000 ft. You may wonder if geese can fly as high as an aeroplane.

Research shows that a commercial helicopter can only reach an altitude of about 10,000 ft while airliners fly usually at about 30,000 ft. Still talking about the highest altitude a goose can reach, some mountaineers reported seeing them fly over summits around Mount Everest that are over 24,000 ft tall.

Averagely, ducks can migrate within 200 – 4000 feet but can reach higher altitudes. According to the history of the North American duck, its highest altitude was documented when a jet plane over Nevada struck a mallard at an altitude of 21,000 feet.

Similarly, during migration, ducks can fly to a very high altitude to avoid overheating and dehydration. Ruddy shelducks and mallards are usually 21,000 ft in height.

From the statistics, it can be deduced that the average flying height of geese is about 15,000 ft while that of ducks is within 200 – 4000 ft. Hence, geese can reach higher

However, the maximum altitude ever recorded for ducks is 21000 ft while that of geese is 23000 ft.

Again the maximum height of that of geese is slightly higher than that of ducks, but summing it up, one can say both ducks and geese can reach almost the same maximum altitude. And again, both ducks and geese only reach such outrageous altitudes during migration.

What species of duck flies the highest?

Research shows that certain species of ducks can fly high. The different species of ducks include; Dabbling ducks like the Mallard or Garganey, Diving ducks such as the Pochard or Scaup

Sea ducks like the Velvet Scoter or Red-breasted Merganser. And even domestic ducks, such as; Muscovies, Calls, East Indies and domestic Mallards. These particular breeds can all fly to a reasonable extent. However, according to researchers, only ruddy shelduck had reached a height of 22, 000 ft. It is the only species of duck that has reached such altitude.

How far can a duck fly?

Ducks usually prepare for a whole week before engaging on a long-distance journey. During a long-haul flight, ducks don’t only cover outrageous heights but also travel long distances.

For instance, a mallard can fly non-stop for eight hours and travel up to 800 miles with an average speed of 50 miles per hour. Ducks typically fly high, at maximum speed and far distances during their seasonal migration from a cold-weather climate to a place with warmer temperatures.

How far can a goose fly?

Canadian geese possess the highest flying speed and can cover the longest distance in a shorter time frame compared to other breeds. Averagely, during migration, Canadian geese fly at a speed of about 40 mph.

But if they catch a strong tailwind, they could increase their speed to 70 miles per hour. Canada geese typically travel within 2000-3000 miles during migration, and if the weather is favourable, they can comfortably fly 1,500 miles in a single day.

Do ducks fly high in the sky?


As mentioned earlier, ruddy shelduck can reach 6,800 meters in the sky. Although not all duck breeds can reach such high altitude, yet, many other species, such as; Mallard, Pochard, Muscovies and Velvet Scoter among others can also fly high in the sky.

Do all domestic geese fly?

Generally, domestic breeds are much larger when compared to their wild ancestors, yet, in most cases, they have retained their ability to fly.

In reality, flying seems difficult for domestic geese due to their large bodyweight. However, the birds can still fly at speeds of about 30 miles per hour. Also, domestic geese usually do not fly much and flying most likely occurs in the lighter breeds or with younger birds.

Although, due to their large size and upright posture, domestic geese can’t really fly, yet, when alarmed – and with a good tailwind, they can get off the ground several feet and can remain in the air for up to 1/4 of a mile, especially, when moving downhill.

Do pet geese fly away?

Naturally, pet geese may lack the evolutionary knowledge required to attempt a long migration flight, yet, they still have an instinctual desire to fly and may fly off to look for food, shelter, or water if not provided at their current location.

Therefore, pet geese will have no reason to fly away if you do your job as a pet owner. As a pet owner, you shouldn’t physically try to prevent pet geese from leaving, but rather,

provide a safe environment for them with enough food, good shelter and free space for socialization. Hence, your pet geese will never think of flying away.

Why can’t domesticated geese fly?

Simply put, most domesticated geese can’t fly as expected due to their body structure and weight. However, some breeds of smaller sized or younger geese can fly to a reasonable extent.

How far can domestic geese fly?

Domestic geese can only fly about 30 miles per hour which is equivalent to about 48.3 Kilometers per hour. Whereas, their wild counterpart, such as the Canada geese can fly up to 70 miles per hour.

Do you need to clip geese’ wings?

In general, geese won’t have their final set of feathers until they are 17 weeks old. Thereafter, farmers can start clipping their wings annually.

Though ducks farmers can clip their bird’s wings m 15 weeks of age, geese must be at least 17 weeks of age before you trim their feathers. Similarly, adult geese can moult and grow a new set of feathers in either fall or summer depending on your location.

Clipping typically keeps your bird safer. It can limit both vertical and horizontal flight. Geese with clipped feathers can’t fly into ceiling fans, walls, windows, doorways or through any other exit route.

Wrapping Up:

Ducks and geese are waterfowls in the family Anatidae. Ducks and geese look alike, only that ducks are generally smaller and have a shorter neck than geese, even as they are members of the same family.

They both possess webbed feet and broad, flat beaks and favour living in small flocks. Waterfowls are adapters to swimming, floating and occasionally diving in at least shallow water.

Despite those intimate similarities, to the extent some people don’t know the differences, we must mention that ducks are different from geese in their behaviour, body size, type of food, colour, and reproductive periods among others.

This article provides comprehensive information about all you need to know regarding ducks and geese’ habitual behaviours, especially flight.

In summary, ducks and geese are both waterfowl of the same family with enormous similarities. Yet, there are notable differences in size, ability to fly and so on.

Although we’ve provided comprehensive information about ducks and geese, however, if you want to rear or keep them as pets, we recommend you seek the advice of an expert.


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