NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids

Northern Pintail

distribution map

Pintail or Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Pintail o Ánade rabudo - en Español

What they look like: The Northern Pintail has a very skinny long neck, a small head and pointed tail.

The male has a dark brown head with a white line running up the back of the neck from the breast. The bill is gray with a black stripe down middle.

Northern pintail photo by NP

The female has a tan head and neck. The female's feathers are spotted tan and she has a dark brown back and body. The feathers on the females belly are lighter. Her bill is gray-blue with small black spots.

How big are they?
Length: 18-26 inches
Wing tip to wing tip: 35 inches
Weight: 2 pounds

Where they live: The Northern Pintail migrates. It spends winters from as far south as Panama and flies as far north as Alaska and the Great Lakes.

The Pintail's habitat is in marshes, lakes, ponds and sheltered coasts. It winters on bodies of water near agricultural land.

What they eat: The diet of the Northern Pintail is plants that grow in the water, seeds, grass, small water animals, and insects. In the winter, the Northern Pintail often feeds in grain fields. Their long necks enable them to reach deeper than other ducks for food.

Northern pintail photo by NP

Did You Know?

  • As one of the dabbling ducks or "puddle ducks", they feed by tipping tail-up to reach aquatic plants, seeds and snails.
  • They require no running start to take off but can directly fly from floating in the water.
  • The longest recorded waterfowl journey goes to a pintail that started in California and was tracked all the way north of the Black Sea. That's more than 9000 miles away!
  • What does it sound like? These ducks don't make much noise, but when they do, the male whistles. The female has a low quack.

Northern Pintail Silhouette

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

Photo Credit: Natures Pics

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