Northern pintail

Latin Name
Anas acuta




Northern pintails are named for the long, pointed tail feathers displayed by males, which can reach up to 4 inches in length. The species is sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Males have a dark brown head and white breast and belly, which darkens to gray and black along the back and wings. Females have a more uniform speckled-brown appearance.



Circumpolar in the northern hemisphere. Northern pintails migrate seasonally between northern Canada and Eurasia to Central America, northern Africa and southern mainland Asia.


The northern pintail is considered a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Wetlands, lakes and rivers


The species dips beneath the water to feed on plants and small aquatic insects and crustaceans. They will also feed on grasses and seeds found on land.

Life History

Mating season begins in early May, with the female laying an average of 7-9 eggs. Incubation lasts approximately 23 days, after which the mother leads ducklings to the water.

ARKive Media

ARKive video - Northern pintail - overviewARKive image - Northern pintail adult with chicksARKive image - Northern pintail male profile

ARKive is creating the ultimate multimedia guide to the world's endangered species.
Visit ARKive for thousands more films, photos and fact-files!