- ORDER: Anseriformes
- FAMILY: Anatidae
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
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.
- Ánade rabudo (Spanish)
- Canard pilet (French)
- Cool Facts
- When it comes to breeding, Northern Pintails don't waste any time. They start nesting as soon as the ice starts to thaw, arriving by late April in places as far north as the Northwest Territories, Canada.
- Northern Pintails migrate at night at speeds around 48 miles per hour. The longest nonstop flight recorded for a Northern Pintail was 1,800 miles.
- Northern Pintails aren't restricted to North America; they also occur in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia. In South America the White-cheeked Pintail and the Yellow-billed Pintail take their place.
- The oldest recorded Northern Pintail was a male, and at least 22 years, 3 months old when he was found in Saskatchewan, Canada.