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Northern Pintail
Anas acuta

Dabbling Ducks
Waterfowl Family (Anatidae)

Size: Length: 47 cm Wingspan: 90 cm

Description: Male pintails are easy to identify. They are a large dabbling duck with a dark head and throat. The front of the neck and breast are white, with a narrow patch extending to outline the cheek. The back of the neck is brown. The upper surface is gray-brown. Perhaps the most distinctive feature in profile is the long tail extending beyond the rear of the bird, and from which it derives its name. The drake speculum is greenish or purple, with a chestnut leading edge and a white trailing edge.

Female pintails, like many waterfowl, are drably coloured with a grayish-blue bill. The tail is shorter than the drake, but slightly extends beyond the body. The speculum is drabber, generally brown with a lighter leading edge and a white trailing edge.

Similar Species: None

Range: Pintails breed throughout much of Canada and the northern United States. They are an uncommon breeder in the Canadian and northern US Rockies. South of Yellowstone, they may be seen throughout the year.

Habitat: Wetlands, including marshes, shallow lakes and sluggish streams.

Diet: They feed on seeds and shallow water plants and seeds of sedges and other aquatic plants. They will also feed on aquatic insects and other invertebrates.

Nesting: Pintails build their nest on the ground, well hidden, and lined with soft plants and down. The female lays 7-9 yellowish eggs that may show a tinge of blue or green. The hen incubates the eggs with hatching occurring after 25-26 days. The precocious ducklings leave the nest immediately and take to the water behind the hen. They fledge at approximately 7 weeks.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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