Northern Pintail

General description.

Especially handsome, the male Pintail has a chocolate brown head and white neck with a white line extending onto the side of his head. This graceful duck's central tail feathers are long, pointed and black.

Female appearance.

The female is mottled brown and similar to the female "Mallard", but paler and grayer with brown speculum bordered with white at the rear edge. Her tail is also more pointed.

Flight pattern.

The "Northern Pintail" is a strong flier and long-distance migrant.

Breeding habits.

The "Northern Pintail" breeds primarily in Alaska, the prairie pothole regions of Canada and south to California, Nebraska and Maine.

Calls or song.

The most common vocalization of the male pintail is a soft reedy "whee" call and a wheezy train-whistle-like sound. The female quacks with a short, low "ke" or "kup".

Population and distribution.

The species is broadly distributed in North America, residing in marshes and prairie ponds and in salt marshes during the winter, where it migrates to Central America and the West Indies. A popular game bird because of its tasty flesh, it is one of our wariest ducks.

Nesting habits.

The pintail makes a shallow bowl of grass, lined with down some distance from the water. There the female lays 6-9 greenish-buff eggs.

Similar birds:

Mallard Photo Mallard
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