Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

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The plumage of female is light brown throughout the year, with grey fringing on the breeding plumage. Compared to other duck species, pintail ducks therefore appear much greyer in colour. The tail is less prominent. Pintail ducks have a Holarctic distribution as far as the Arctic tundra of Eurasia and North America. They live on large standing inland waters in open landscapes. As breeding grounds, pintail ducks require shallow bogs, wet meadows, shallow lakes, ponds or floodplains, reservoirs or fish ponds with a vegetated shore area. In Germany, they are frequent winter visitors from September to April. Pintail ducks are social, only coming together in a monogamous seasonal union during the breeding season. The ground nest is built on dry ground in meadows, pastures or on islands: a shallow depression padded with vegetation and down. The nests may well be located several kilometres from the water. As a rule, 7 to 11 beige-yellowish egg layers are laid at daily intervals. Incubation and rearing the chicks are the exclusive responsibility of the female. The male remains near the nest during the breeding season before flying to the moulting areas in groups of drakes. After 22 to 24 days, the chicks hatch, covered in brown down. The fledglings are nidifugous, but continue to be tended by the female. They fledge after another 40 to 45 days. The highest recorded age of a pintail duck was in excess of 27 years. However, the average life expectancy is significantly shorter.

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