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Bird Gallery

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail (male)
Northern Pintail (male)

© David McDonald

Anas acuta

Family: (Anatidae) Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Preferred Habitat: Marshy ponds and lakes

Seasonal Occurrence: Common September through April

Notes: Slim and long-necked, the Northern Pintail has a distinctive silhouette. Pintails are named for their elongated central tail feathers, which constitute one-fourth of the drake's body length. They are referred to as the "greyhounds of the air" due to their fast, streamlined flight on long, slender wings.

The drake Northern Pintail has a silvery body, accented with white on the sides and breast, and black on the tail and wing feathers. A white neck stripe and a rich chestnut head complete this slim, elegant bird. The female is well camouflaged in muted tans, grays, and browns. Northern Pintails are among the first ducks to migrate south in the fall and north in the spring. They are common at prairie ponds and coastal marshlands and are a very reliable winter resident on the Katy Prairie.

Northern Pintails (female, back view of male)
Northern Pintails (female, back view of male)

© Greg Lavaty

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