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Last updated 10/18/2022 at Noon


Northern Pintails

A relatively common dabbler duck, the Northern Pintail [Anus acuta], feeds on grains, seeds, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. It gets its name from the long tail feathers ending in a distinctive narrow sharp tip.

They build their nest amongst the reeds in marshes and begin nesting in very early spring, laying six to 12 pale olive eggs, which hatch in 21-25 days. Ducklings leave the nest immediately, and are capable of flying in 38-45 days.

Pintails once were one of the most abundant ducks in North America, but have suffered a disturbing decline since the 1950s. A loss of 2.6 percent population per year between 1966 and 2012 resulted in a cumulative decline of 72 percent. In 2009, the Pintail population was estimated at 3.2 million birds, well below the American Waterfowl Management Plans objective of 5.5 million.

A Pintail has the record for long-distance duck migration, as one was tracked from California to the Black Sea, a flight of 9,000 miles.

Slim and long necked, the Northern Pintails display an elegant appearance on water and in flight earning the nickname “Greyhound of the Skies.”

Groups of Pintails are known as a “paddling,” “raft,” or a “flush.”

For more Northern Pintail images visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasa


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