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Bahama Pintail

[ Northern Pintail ] [ Bahama Pintail ]
  [ N. A. Ruddy Duck  



There are three subspecies for this duck which is also known as the Summer Duck or the White-cheeked Pintail. The Lesser Bahama Pintail (Anas bahamensis bahamensis) is native to the West Indies, northern south America and occasionally spotted in the southern U.S.; the Greater Bahama Pintail (A. b. rubrirostris) can be found in South America, south of the Equator; and the Galapagos Pintail (A. b. galapagensis), who is restricted to the Galapagos Islands. The subspecies are very similar, but vary in size and brightness of the feathers (Greater being the largest, Galapagos the smallest). They are closely related to the African Red-billed Pintail (A. erythorhyncha), whom they greatly resemble.

The sexes are similar, with the females being slightly duller and having a lighter colored bill. Vent sexing is the only definite way of determining the sexes. Both have white cheeks and throats; the rest of the body light brown with black markings. The bill is mostly blue, with a red patch (brighter in drakes) at the base; the feet and legs are gray. The male does not go through an eclipse period, and keeps his breeding plumage year-round. 



The breeding season begins in late April or early May when the hen begins looking for a suitable nesting site. Bahamas prefer to nest in triangular shaped boxes that are 12"x12" and 14" long. They should be opened at one end or have a 4" diameter entrance hole. I use pine shavings as nesting material in the boxes and keep the boxes in clumps of high grass or hide it with a cut cedar tree. 

The clutch size ranges from 6 to 12 cream colored eggs that are incubated for about 25 days and can be reared by the mother. The ducklings are rather small, but grow quickly and are ready to fly at about six weeks. Although they reach sexual maturity at the end of their first year, many do not breed until they are two.


General Comments

I have kept many around for years and enjoy them very much. Since Bahamas are tropical ducks, they need good shelter during the cold months. I keep heat lamps in the shelters for extra protection, as well as plenty of dry straw. Be sure to keep a close eye on the feet, making sure they are not frozen, which can happen easily with this species. Bahamas get along great with other ducks and are never troublesome. They do not require a large aviary, 8'x12' and 6' high. Provided a large tub that was landscaped as a "pond" for that pair. 

There are several mutations, the attractive little Silver Bahama Pintail and Blue Bahama pintail. From what I have read about the silver mutation, they were first seen in collections in Europe many years ago, and have only been in America for about twenty years or so. The color is, as seen in the photo, an overall silver gray; they do retain the white-cheek patch, bill and leg color of the normal Bahama. This mutation is well established and common in captivity.


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Bahama Pintail Drake

Bahama Pintail Hen

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