Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)


French: Canard pilet German: Spießente Spanish: Ánade rabudo norteño

Anas acuta


, 1758,



With A. georgica (and A. eatoni) sometimes placed in genus Dafila. One genetic study suggested that present species forms a monophyletic group with A. bahamensis and A. georgica#R. Southern Hemisphere species A. eatoni (with drygalskii), which see, frequently considered conspecific with present species. Has hybridized in the wild with Netta rufina#R#R. Monotypic.


Most of Nearctic and Palearctic. In winter S to N South America, Africa and S & E Asia.

Descriptive notes

50–76 cm (including up to 10 cm-long central rectrices); male c. 850–1030 g, female c. 735–871 g, unsexed 525–980 g; wingspan 80–95 cm. Male... read more


Male gives monosyllabic “geeeee”, whereas female utters series of low quacking notes, generally... read more


Shallow, usually eutrophic, freshwater marshes, small lakes and rivers, preferably with dense... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds (grain), tubers (potatoes) and vegetative parts of aquatic plants (Potamogeton, Elodea, Vallisneria) and... read more


Starts Mar/May, with first-egg dates varying by up to c. 2 weeks at given locality and by up c. 3 months across North American range, e.g.... read more


Highly migratory (but no evidence of transatlantic vagrancy), flying S to winter at lower latitudes... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). One of commonest ducks over majority of its range. Winter population in North America estimated at 9,600,000 birds in mid 1950s,... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Northern Pintail (Anas acuta). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).