(Anas acuta)




Facts about this animal

The (Northern) pintail is a medium-sized dabbling duck, the male with a body-weight of about 850 g and a length of 64-74 cm, the female with a body-weight of about 800 g and a length of 53-58 cm. It has a very long neck, small head and attenuated rear, grey bill and grey feet.

During the breeding season, the drake's plumage is dark brown on the head, neck, breast and belly are white with white a finger extending up back of neck to rear part of face. The flanks are grey and back with black centres to back feathers. There is a whitish patch at the rear portion of the flanks bordering the undertail coverts, which are black. The central tail feathers are elongated and black. There is a green speculum with white rear border and chestnut forward border. The female has a tan head and neck, mottled tan and dark brown back and body plumage, paler on belly, and a brown speculum with white rear border. The summer plumage of the male is similar, but the green speculum is retained.

Nests may be far away from water. 6 to 12 cream-coloured eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female alone for 21-26 days.

Seeds of aquatic plants are the Pintail's main food, but in winter it also eats small aquatic animals; when freshwater habitats freeze over, it resorts to tidal flats, where it feeds on snails and small crabs.

Did you know?
that male Northern Pintails are aggressive, often forcing their attentions on females of other species?


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Anas acuta
Name (English) Pintail
Name (French) Canard pilet
Name (German) Spiessente
Name (Spanish) Anade rabudo
Local names Czech: Osralka stíhlá
Dutch: pijlstart
Estonian: Soopart
Finnish: Jouhisorsa
Greek: Psalída
Hungarian: Nyílfarkú réce
Italian: Codone
Polish: Rozeniec
Portuguese: Arrabico
Romansch: Anda gita
Swedish: Stjärtand
CITES Status Appendix III (Danemark)
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.) Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range Breeds throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Winters south to North Africa, Arabian Gilf, southern Asia, Hawaii, northern South America.
Habitat Freshwater wetlands
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 6,100,000- to ,500,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 665 reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
J. M. Garg

Why do zoos keep this animal

The pintail is not a threatened species. Zoos keep them for educational purposes and as an ambassador species for wetland conservation. Depending of the location of its location and of the size and quality of its waterfowl ponds, pintails may chose a zoo for wintering or even breeding.