Fun Northern Pintail Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
May 09, 2023 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Northern Pintail facts to keep bird lovers interested.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

If you like ducks, then the Northern Pintail just might be your new favorite bird!

This population of wildlife is frequently seen around their habitat in spring, and they can be seen in flight, en route migration to their winter habitat, where this wildlife will stay until spring rolls back around.

It is in this cycle of winter migration and traveling back to their central range that we see this relatively attractive bird make its way through life.

It is not a very big bird but makes up for it in strength and aggressiveness if anyone comes near their nest (especially when nesting.)

This bird feeds on aquatic worms and other various small insects and plants, and as such will always be seen making a nest near water, where they tend to stay until they migrate to their winter range.

They have between seven and nine babies every breeding cycle, and as independent as they are, the babies can be seen making their way out into the world as soon as in a few weeks!

Read all about these birds, or have a look at the hummingbird and Spix's macaw too.

Northern Pintail Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a northern pintail?

The Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) is a type of duck.

What class of animal does a northern pintail belong to?

The Pintail Northern belongs to a class of birds.

How many northern pintails are there in the world?

The population of Pintail (Northern) is about 5.3-5.4 million.

Where does a northern pintail live?

Northern Pintails, a species of North America, live in wetlands.

What is a northern pintail's habitat?

The habitat of Northern Pintail ducks in small ponds and swamps in open spaces at the time of the breeding season. These species can be found in not-very-deep wetlands, flooded fields, uncovered mudflats, and lakes throughout the winter season. They can be seen in coastal and shallow waters while migrating.

Who do northern pintails live with?

Northern Pintails, North American birds, are usually gregarious ducks that clash only infrequently with other ducks. Whenever one male duck terrorizes another, it jabs its opponent with its bill spread and chases them with its head hanging down, just above the water's surface.

How long does a northern pintail live?

The life range of Northern Pintails birds is about 22 years in captivity but it may be less in wildlife.

How do they reproduce?

The pairing process of the Pintail (Northern) starts in the cooler climes and continues during the spring migration of the bird. In the breeding season, northern ducks are among the first to breed, arriving on the nesting sites as soon as the ice melts.

The shelter is situated on a dry patch of land with sparse vegetation. The breeding site of this species is typically close to water, although it may be roughly a couple of miles away from the water body.

Nests of the Pintail are often more visible than the nests of other ducks. The females construct the nest, which is not a very deep depression lined downward and made up of twigs, grass, or leaves, and other dry materials.

The Pintail (Northern) female is the sole incubator of the 6-10 eggs, which takes 21-25 days.

When the female starts incubation, the couple bond breaks down as the males collect in herds to molt. The young birds start to follow the mother from the nesting place and after a few hours the eggs hatch.

The female takes the dark brown ducklings to the nearest shallow water body. At that place, they feed themselves dead insects.

What is their conservation status?

The  IUCN Red List declares the Northern Pintails bird as a Least Concern species. Due to imminent danger from sports hunters, the North American Waterfowl Action Plan is strongly scrutinizing its presence in North America.

Northern Pintail Fun Facts

What do northern pintails look like?

Whether in flight or water, Northern Pintails have a stylish look with a long and slim neck. For its breeding plumage, the Northern Pintail male has a dark brown (chocolate brown) head, white breast and neck, and a white line running up his body.

The abdomen is white, and the shade of the body is light gray with black-edged plumage. The long tail and rump are both black.

The Pintail (Northern) female has a brown-and-black mottled body, a pointed tail, and a dark bronze bright patch on her wing.

Males and females both have dark gray bills and gray legs, with the male's bill being blue-lined on the sides. Eclipse plumage of males are looking quite indistinguishable from females, but they are grayer and have some white shade on the sides of their necks.

Northern Pintails in water, ready to fly.

How cute are they?

Of these North American birds, the Northern Pintail male has an adorable look with white breasts and white stripes on their chocolate-brown neck and head. The female shows a shiny speculum. With these elegant looks and vibrant colors, these ducks look cute.

How do they communicate?

This bird is mostly silent and not very expressive, except for a few low-pitched whistles or slow quacks. But sometimes the females make a shrill voice 'quack,' and the males make a whistle-like 'kwee' tone. Whistling signifies mating, and usually, the male approaches the female with his long tail raised and downward head.

How big is a northern pintail?

The average length of males is 23-30 in and females are  20-25 in. This bird (Anas acuta) has long and thin tail feathers. The length of these tail feathers is 4 in. The size of the Mallard bird is 20-26 in. Pintails are slightly larger than the Mallard.

How fast can a northern pintail fly?

The North American species, Northern Pintails, can fly at an average speed of  65 mph.

How much does a northern pintail weigh?

The average weight range of Pintails is 1–2.5 lb in suitable conditions.

What are the male and female names of the species?

With a brown head and neck, the Pintails male bird is called a drake and the female does not have any specific name.

What would you call a baby northern pintail?

The baby of the Pintail (Anas acuta) does not have any significant name.

What do they eat?

These birds usually have their feed at night. In their mouth, they have a special bill structure that eases their search, and filter, and helps them reach their food from shallow water.

These wetlands pintails eat both aquatic plants (mostly seeds) and animal matter, but the majority of their diet is plant-based. They prefer to find food in or near water, but they will also consume wild rice, roots, grain, and nuts as their feed on land.

In the winter season, their diet is seeds of water plants and rhizomes.

When they are trying to construct a nest, these birds tend to consume invertebrates. They have a unique feeding habit of searching for food on the muddy bottoms of lakes and ponds

Are they dangerous?

These aquatic birds which mostly live in lakes are very quiet. Like other shallow-water birds, they may destroy grain crops close to their nest but usually, they are not dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not suitable as pets because they are wild animals.

Did you know...

When these birds are in flight position they look gracious. With the help of primary and secondary feathers, they lift their body and make their flight smooth.

Because of their migratory origin, Pintails can be found in a variety of locations in the Central United States and some parts of Europe

Is the northern pintail endangered?

The Northern Pintails are one of the most widespread duck species in the world, with a high population in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Are northern pintails migratory?

Northern Pintail ducks are mostly early autumn migrants, arriving at their cooler climes far north as early as August, though the fall migration peaks in October and November months in eastern and western Washington, respectively.

Early in the spring, between late February and mid-May, the northern migration starts, which is in the peak stage in March month and early April.

Several flocks of the Pintail migrate through the Bering Strait from Siberia to spend the winter season in North America.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our ostrich interesting facts or our peacock fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Northern Pintail coloring pages.

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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