Northern Pintail

Anas acuta
The male northern pintail has a long tail feather/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

The Northern pintail is a common migrant in the Refuge.  It is seen during fall and winter in fields, marshes, on freshwater and in swamps. Because of its long pointed tail the Northern pintail is often referred to as a “spiketail”. Because of its elegant and trim looking appearance it has also been called, “the greyhound of the air.”  It feeds primarily on vegetation, seeds, algae and insects that it forages for in shallow water.  Its name acuta comes from the verb acuere, which in Latin, refers to the pointed tail of the male. The white stripe on the male’s neck continues in a thin line on its chocolate brown head.

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Facts About Northern Pintail

Elegant and sleek

White stripe on the side of the male’s neck

Male has a long, black, pointy tail