Northern Pintail

Anas acuta




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive green, olive buff or cream.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 12

Incubation Days:

22 - 25

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with twigs and other vegetation.





Northern Pintail: Large long necked dabbling duck with gray and black upperparts, white neck and underparts, gray sides. Head, throat and nape are rich brown; distinct white stripe divides front and back of neck. Wings are gray with glossy green speculum bordered with cinnamon-brown above and white below. Tail is black, long and pointed. Bill is slender and pale gray; legs and feet are gray. Female is mottled gray-brown with gray wings, plain brown head, pointed shorter tail and dark gray bill. Juvenile resembles female but is paler brown.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Northern Pintail: These ducks breed on open lowland moors, marshes and grasslands around freshwater, brackish or salty lakes. Three to twelve olive green, olive buff or cream eggs are laid in a shallow ground nest made of grass and lined with down, often some distance from water. Incubation ranges from 22 to 25 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Northern Pintail: Their diet includes grains such as rice, wheat, corn and barley, moist soil and aquatic plant seeds, pond weeds, aquatic insects, crustaceans and snails. Generally they select feeding habitats that provide abundant food, consuming the most abundant items in proportion to their availability. They forage in shallow water by dabbling.


Northern Pintail: Male call is a wheezy whistle. May utter a weak, nasal "geee". Females produce quacking "kuk" notes.

Similar Species

Northern Pintail: Long-tailed Duck has white face patch.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
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