• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Northern Pintail

Anas acuta ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Northern Pintail Photo

Slim and long-necked, the Northern Pintail has a distinctive silhouette. The male is easy to identify by his striking markings and long tail, but even the female can be recognized by her graceful, long-necked shape.

Optics Planet birding kit
2013 PromotionSponsored Ad

Appearance

Ducks
Ducks
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized duck.
  • Long, thin neck.
  • Pointed tail, extremely long in males.
  • Male with white chest, white stripe up neck, and dark reddish brown head.

Male Description

Breeding Plumage: Chocolate-brown head. White neck and underparts, white extending up back of neck in thin line. Very long black central tail feathers. Black rear end bordered by yellowish tan patch. Sides and upper back gray. Lower back feathers long and black with pale edges. Rear of wing (speculum) bronzy greenish with black band and white rear edge. Bill black with bluish gray stripes. Eyes dark brown. Legs gray.
Eclipse Plumage: Duller. Overall brownish. Head, throat, and neck medium brownish with fine dark streaks. Upperparts brownish to grayish with broad dark barring. Central tail feathers brown and long, but much shorter and wider than in breeding plumage. Bill black with bluish gray stripes. Eyes dark brown. Legs gray.

Female Description

Crown and face tan. Chin whitish. Back and rump brown with lighter edges to feathers. Upper breast buff or tan. Lower breast and belly white. Tail pointed, with central tail feathers longest. Rear of wing (speculum) bronzy greenish with black band and white rear edge. Bill dull black, occasionally with bluish stripes. Eyes dark brown. Legs bluish gray.

Immature Description

Similar to adult female.

Range Map Help

Northern Pintail Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

No other female dabbling duck has such a long thin neck and a plain tan face.