NORTHERN PINTAIL

NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Northern Pintail is a dabbling duck. The male has a dark brown head with a white breast and mostly grey plumage elsewhere. The white extends from the breast as a stripe up the neck, and the bill is black and light blue. The tail is long and narrow. The female is mostly brown with white stripes. Both sexes have a long neck. The feet and legs are blue-grey in both sexes. It is a rather large duck at around 70 cm (30 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Anas-acuta
NAME: The English name ‘Pintail’ refers to the long, narrow and pointed tail in the male. The Latin genus name ‘Anas’ means ‘duck’, and the Latin species name ‘acuta’ means ‘sharp’, again in reference to the male’s tail.
HABITAT: Open wetlands.
DIET: The northern pintail feeds on shallow water bottom vegetation, and also on insects and crustaceans by upending, i.e. upside down.
NESTING: Northern pintails nest in open country, which makes the eggs and young vulnerable to predators.
DISTRIBUTION: This bird is widespread in the whole northern hemisphere, and it migrates to Mexico, southern Europe, Asia and northern Africa for the winter, in addition to Hawaii. During migration this duck species forms large flocks.
DISTRIBUTION MAP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pintail#/media/File:Anas_acuta_distribution_map_2.png
ON PEI: Common on Prince Edward Island, where it breeds and also winters.
CONSERVATION: The northern pintail is susceptible to various diseases or parasites and is also a favorite game bird because of its good flavor. In spite of a significant population decline in North America in the last few decades, it is still listed as a species of ‘least concern’, numbering in the few million. As for many other waterfowl, habitat loss to wetland drainage for agriculture or development is a potential threat.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Garganey
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pintail
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Pintail/id
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/northern-pintail
https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Birds/Northern-Pintail (National Wildlife Federation)
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/northernpintail.htm (New Hampshire PBS)
https://www.arkive.org/northern-pintail/anas-acuta/
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/northern-pintail (Missouri Department of Conservation)

Northern Pintail - Charlottetown, PEI - Mar. 2019 - © Roberta Palmer
Northern Pintail – Charlottetown, PEI – Mar. 2019 – © Roberta Palmer
Northern Pintail - St. John's, NL - Nov. 2018 - - © Roberta Palmer
Northern Pintail – St. John’s, NL – Nov. 2018 – – © Roberta Palmer
Northern pintail on the Onda river, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo, Japan. Note the finely striated plumage on the back.

Northern pintail on the Onda river, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo, Japan. Note the finely striated plumage on the back.
Northern Pintails - Oysterbed Bridge, PEI - Jan. 1, 2016
Northern Pintails – Oysterbed Bridge, PEI – Jan. 1, 2016 – Roberta Palmer

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