Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

NOPI

Code 6

ANAACU

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Northern Pintail has a large range, estimated globally at 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and also seen in Australia, this bird prefers wetland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 6,100,000 to 7,500,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Northern Pintail is Least Concern

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Northern Pintail: This large duck has gray and black upperparts, white neck and underparts, gray sides, long black pointed tail, brown head, throat and nape. White stripe divides front and back of neck, green speculum is bordered by buff. Feeds on seeds and aquatic insects. Females are mottled brown all over with slim, tan head, long neck and a shorter tail. Direct flight with rapid wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Northern Pintail: Breeds from Alaska and Labrador south to California, northern Texas, and Maine. Spends winters along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, across the southern and southwestern states, the West Indies, and throughout Mexico; also in Eurasia. Preferred habitats include marshes, prairie ponds, tundra, and sometimes salt marshes.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"geee", "pruh", "prripp"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The scientific name comes from two Latin words: anas, meaning "duck", and acuta, which comes from the verb acuere, which means "sharpen"; the species term, like the English name, refers to the pointed tail of the male.
  • This elegant duck with its trim form and swift flight, has been dubbed 'the greyhound of the air’. It has also been called pintail, sprig, sprigtail, spike, and spiketail.
  • Unusually for a bird with such a large range, the Northern Pintail has no geographical subspecies if the possibly conspecific Eaton's Pintail is considered to be a separate species.
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Northern Pintail

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
SpeculumX
The brightly colored area on the wing (secondaries of the wing) on several duck species.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X