A duck, a goose, and a swan have a conversation about being called waterfowl
Duck: You know, I’m tired of being called a waterfowl. I’m a duck, and I’m proud of being a duck. Why do I always have to be put in with you guys?
Goose: Well, we are all waterfowl, and humans like to categorize animals into groups…
Swan: I don’t particularly like being lumped with you, either. What could a beautiful swan like me possibly have to do with a common duck, anyway?
Duck: Hey, fella, do I need to remind you that the wood duck, yes, you heard me, is a DUCK—is considered the one of the most beautiful birds in the world? You’re just all big and white, so what? Talk about beautiful colors and patterns, sheesh—you swans got nothing on us ducks!
Swan: We are not always white! Sometimes we’re black, like the black swan! And even black and white, like the black-necked swan!
Duck: Oh, boy, black and white—big deal! How about the beautiful cinnamon color of the cinnamon teal, or the slate blue and chestnut of the harlequin duck, or even the gorgeous green head of the common mallard? You swans may be the biggest waterfowl, but color-wise , you’re definitely the most boring.
Goose: Why are the male ducks so colorful anyway?
Duck: It’s to attract female ducks. How can they resist?
Swan: Well, we may not come in a rainbow of colors, but you can’t deny we’re graceful—there’s even a ballet named after us, Swan Lake. I haven’t heard of any ballets featuring ducks.
Duck: Whatever, dude, we might not have a ballet, but ducks are definitely more popular with the human kids. Rubber duckies are everywhere—have you ever seen a rubber swan?
Swan: We swans aren’t interested in novelty bath items, anyway.
Duck: I don’t think we’ve got anything in common. Even our names are different. A male duck is called a drake. A female duck is called a hen, and a baby duck is called a duckling.
Swan: That’s true. I’m called a cob, a female swan is a pen, and a baby swan is a cygnet.
Goose: And if you care, a male goose is called gander, a female goose is a goose, and a baby goose is a gosling. And a group of geese is called a gaggle. But so what if we have different names? If I may finally interrupt your quacking and hissing, we waterfowl actually do have a lot in common.
Swan: Like what?
Goose: Well, for one thing, we’re all birds! Our babies come from eggs. We’ve got bills and wings and feathers and we fly.
Swan: Well, yes, there is that—we do share those traits.
Goose: And we waterfowl spend a lot of time in the water, hence our name. And just look at us—we all have large feet with webbing between our toes to help us swim, and we have thick bodies with short sturdy legs. We have a lot in common and we should try to get along! Waterfowl unite!
Swan: You know, Miss Goose, you’re completely right. We waterfowl should stick together. You’re not silly at all. Well, Mr. Drake, shall we be friends?—let’s put that whole ugly duckling thing behind us.
Duck: Hmmm. Cob—that’s a funny name.
Swan: Watch it, ducky. Don’t forget, I’m a lot bigger than you are!
Goose: I give up! I’m migrating out of here….