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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.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
20.1–29.9 in
51–76 cm
Weight
17.6–51.1 oz
500–1450 g
Other Names
  • Canard pilet (French)
  • Pato golondrino (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Like the Mallard, the Northern Pintail breeds in a variety of habitats all across northern North America and Eurasia. Also like the Mallard, island populations have splintered off and evolved into separate species. Two closely related forms can be found on Crozet and Kerguelen islands in the very southern Indian Ocean, known as Eaton's Pintail (Anas eatoni
  • The Northern Pintail is among the earliest nesting ducks in North America, beginning shortly after ice-out in many northern areas.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Nests in open country with shallow, seasonal wetlands and low vegetation. Winters in wide variety of shallow inland freshwater and intertidal habitats.

Food


Seeds

Grain, seeds, weeds, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and snails.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–12 eggs
Egg Description
Greenish buff.
Condition at Hatching
Covered in down and able to leave the nest soon after hatching.
Nest Description

Scrape in ground in brush or grass, lined with grass and down; usually not near water.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Dabbler

Picks food from surface of ground. Dabbles, filter-feeds at surface of water, tips-up in shallow water.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Not endangered, but populations are lower than desired.

Credits

  • Austin, J. E., and M. R. Miller. 1995. Northern Pintail (Anas acuta). In The Birds of North America, No. 163 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Range Map Help

Northern Pintail Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings