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Merlin Bird ID

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    Northern Pintail

    Silhouette DucksDucks

    Northern Pintail

    Anas acuta
    • ORDER: Anseriformes
    • FAMILY: Anatidae
    Basic Description

    Elegant Northern Pintails swim through wetlands and lakes with their slender necks and long, pointed tails held high. Intricately patterned and pale-faced females join males fashioned with a signature white stripe down their chocolate-colored necks. These eager breeders head to the prairie pothole region of the Great Plains, as well as Canada, and Alaska to nest as soon as the ice breaks up. Large groups congregate in wetlands, lakes, bays, and even waddle through agricultural fields eating grains during the winter. Though still common, their populations are declining.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Northern PintailRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    National Wildlife Refuges are a great place to look for Northern Pintails. In shallow areas and nearby agricultural fields look for groups of ducks that stand higher than the rest. Their long necks and slender profile readily separate them from other ducks, as does the male's brilliant white chest and stripe up the neck. They tend to forage in groups along the shallower edges of lakes and ponds, but they also venture out on the water with Mallards, Northern Shovelers, other ducks, and American Coots.

    Other Names
    • Ánade Rabudo (Spanish)
    • Canard pilet (French)
    • Cool Facts