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Northern Pintail

Anas acuta
Pintails-LewisX512

Northern pintails spend the winter at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. They migrate south from northern Canada where they nest in the summer. On the refuge, they feed on grain, seeds of native and non-native plants, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and snails.

Northern pintails are slim and long-necked and have a distinctive silhouette. The males are easy to identify by his striking markings and long tail. They have white necks, chests, and underparts; white stripes up their brown necks; and dark reddish brown heads. The females have tan faces and crowns, white chins, and brown rumps and backs. Their upper breasts are buff or tan and their lower breast and bellies are white.

Northern Pintail populations have declined throughout most of their range at a rate of 2.6 percent per year between 1966 and 2010, resulting in a cumulative decline of 69 percent, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The 2014 State of the Birds listed them as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.

Facts About Northern Pintail

  • They are 20 to 30 inches long and weigh 17 to 51 ounces.
  • Feed on plants, insects, snails and and crustaceans.
  • Listed as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.
Page Photo Credits — Northern Pintails by Jeff Lewis
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2014
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