Northern Pintail

Waterfowl Identification

With its long black pointed tail, brown head with white neck stripes and gray slender body, the Northern Pintail, Anas acuta, drake is one of North America's most beautiful ducks. Their long neck and tail makes them appear larger than a Mallard but in body size and weight they are smaller. The Northern Pintail hen is mottled brown and also has a pointed tail. In flight drakes have iridescent steel green wing patches bordered with light bands. Hens have a duller wing patch bordered with light bands.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Drake images

These ducks use all four flyways, but are most plentiful in the west.

They are extremely graceful and fast fliers, fond of zig-zagging from great heights before leveling off to land. They are agile on land and often feed in grain fields.

Length: 26"
Weight: 1 3/4 lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS Flock Pattern

The drakes whistle; the hens have a coarse quack.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018