The Northern Pintail is
one of the most widespread and common ducks in the world, and is found in Europe
and Asia as well as North America. Pintails are generally very wary and
difficult to approach in all seasons.
Habitat: Marshland and shallow lakes or
ponds with emergent wetland vegetation. Nests are in dense vegetation
growth, often very near water but sometimes up to half a mile away from the
nearest water source.
Diet: A variety of items, but mostly
plant material and insects. The winter diet is largely plant material,
especially seeds, roots, and waste grain. Insects and the occasional
mollusk, crustacean, or small fish become a significant part of the diet in the
Behavior: Forages by dipping its head below the
surface in shallow water, finding the majority of its food in the mud bottom
beneath the water. Will also forage on land occasionally.
Nesting: April through June
Migration: Summers through the northern half of the
U.S., Canada, and Alaska. Winters throughout much of the southern half of
the U.S., and U.S. and Canadian coastlines.
Similar Species: The male is generally quite
distinctive, while the female can look similar to many dabbling ducks.
Conservation Status: Common throughout most of its range, but
they have declined significantly since the 1960's.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Northern Pintail"
eNature.com: Northern Pintail
Photo Information: May 14th, 2010 - Kingsbury County,
South Dakota -- Terry L.
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Northern Pintail photos.