I've seen several down jackets stating what species of down the jacket is filled with, i.e. Duck, Goose, etc.

What are the differences between the various species' down and which is best?

1 Answer 1


From The Feather Company, London

Duck down is the most common type of filling. Down from geese is usually larger than down from ducks. Muscovy down has features very similar to eider down i.e. they are more crooked and intertwined. Eider down is the world's lightest and best insulating material. It is a very exclusive and collected manually when the eider bird has left the nest.

Down is the best insulating material in the world and is also very good at regulating heat and moisture in duvets. Generally speaking, down quality is dependent on the raw material: healthy adult birds produce better quality down, which has a better insulating capacity and lasts longer

In decreasing order of quality:

Eider Duck Down

Siberian Goose Down

Moskus Down

Goose Down

Duck Down

  • 2
    what about penguin down, would that make a good coat
    – coburne
    Mar 11, 2015 at 16:10
  • 1
    Possibly (see "The thermal insulation of the down and feathers of Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) and Gentoo (P. papua) penguin chicks" at jstor.org/discover/10.2307/…). However getting hold of the down might prove problematical.
    – Paul Lydon
    Mar 11, 2015 at 17:02
  • 2
    @coburne - No, penguins have fat for most of their insulation, their feathers are different, fluffy down would make them too buoyant, which would make diving and swimming difficult for them. The chicks have down, but I'm sure if it was feasible to make penguin chick down coats that someone would have done it by now.
    – ShemSeger
    Mar 11, 2015 at 19:23
  • does this mean a/ eider duck down has better fill power than duck down in general (i.e. around 950 against 750-800), or b/ for equal fill power, eider down is just better? (the later making no sense to me, but the former making the species comparison useless)
    – njzk2
    Oct 11, 2016 at 14:57
  • The reason the different species are quoted as better or worse is directly related to fill power. So Eider Duck down has better fill power than Goose or Duck. Fill power ranges from about 300 for feathers to around 900 for the highest quality goose down. Although the rare and relatively expensive down of certain wild waterfowl species such as The Muscovy duck, or Common eider can have higher fill powers
    – Paul Lydon
    Oct 12, 2016 at 6:20

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