Northern Pintail
Anas acuta

The pintail is probably the most graceful and elegant of them all. A lot of old duck hunters call him “bull sprigs, spike-tails, or even pheasant-ducks,” all derived from his long spiky tail feathers. Even his scientific name, Anas acuta, is Latin for “pointed duck.”

Like all their puddle-duck kin, pintails feed mainly on plants, especially smartweed and other vegetation that grows near water.

Pintails are prairie and tundra nesters, pushing even farther north than mallards. Courtship is an earnest affair conducted both on the water and in the air as the drakes vie with one another for the hens’ attention. Hens don’t lay a particularly large clutch of eggs, about eight on the average, but she’s diligent in caring for them and in protecting her brood once they hatch.

*Text sources provided by Michael McIntosh, Wild Fowl of North America, published by Brown & Bigelow Inc. St. Paul Minnesota.
Species Identification compiled by George Austin McCurry