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Northern Pintail

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



The Northern Pintail is probably one of the most beautiful North American ducks. It is very graceful in flight and does not take kindly to flying in bad weather. This shy bird is seldom seen in the Eastern Flyway but is fairly abundant in the remaining flyways. The Pintail is a surface feeding dabbling duck.

The male has a rich brown head with a white line running up the back of the neck from the breast. The body is gray above and on the flanks. Feet gray. Elongated black tail. The long black tail feathers of the male help distinguish it in flight as they add up to 4 inches to it's length. The bill is gray-blue with a black strip down middle. The Female body plumage is brown and light brown with a slightly grayer tint than other female surface feeding ducks. The bill is gray-blue with small black spots. Feet gray. 

Large-appearing duck, with very long neck, small head and attenuated rear .
Length: 26 inches
Weight: 2 pounds 



Pintails prefer shallow ponds where they can get their food of the bottom. They feed on seeds, vegetation, mollusks, and small fish. They don't run along the water to take off like most other ducks, instead they spring out of the water on take-off. The nest is a down-lined hollow in which the female lays six to twelve eggs and incubates them for about 26 days. 


General Comments

These are non-aggressive ducks that get along well in a mixed collection. The downy young leave the nest soon after hatching and fledge at seven weeks. Most of the wild population winter in California and the gulf of Mexico. The population in the wild is fast declining as people convert much of the land into other uses, but they are commonly seen in captivity. These are certainly nice ducks for the beginner as they are easy to breed and raise.


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Northern Pintail Drake

Northern Pintail Hen

Northern Pintail Pair

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