Northern pintail

Anas acuta

Considered one of the most handsome ducks, the northern pintail has a slender build, long neck and pointed tail feathers, from which it derives its name. The northern pintail is widespread across North America, Europe and Asia.

Northern pintail behavior and facts

  • The northern pintail is graceful and acrobatic in flight – and is nicknamed 'greyhound of the air' for its rapid flight.
  • Northern pintails are omnivorous, feeding on algae, seeds, grasses, insects and small fish.
  • Northern pintails typically feed at night on the ground in shallow water, or by diving to reach submerged plants.

Life history

  • The northern pintail breeds from April to June in solitary pairs or loose groups.
  • They typically construct their nests further away from water than most other duck species.
  • Northern pintails nest in a slight hollow on the ground lined with grass and down – in dense vegetation.
  • They lay 7-9 eggs and incubate them for 22-24 days.


IUCN Least concern

Northern pintails, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's northern pintails live in the Cascade Stream and Pond aviary.