Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Pintail or Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) is a widely-occurring duck which breeds in the northern areas of Europe, Asia and North America. It is strongly migratory in winters south of its breeding range to the equator. Unusually for a bird with such a large range, it has no geographical subspecies if the possibly conspecific Eaton's Pintail is considered to be a separate species.This is a fairly large duck, with a long pointed tail that gives rise to the species' English and scientific names. The male has a very distinctive brown, grey and white appearance, whereas the female has mainly light brown plumage and a shorter tail. The male's call is a mellow whistle, whereas the female quacks like a Mallard.The Northern Pintail is a bird of open wetlands which nests on the ground, often some distance from water. It feeds by dabbling for plant food and adds small invertebrates to its diet during the nesting season. It is highly gregarious when not breeding, forming large mixed flocks with other species of duck.This duck's population is affected by predators, parasites and avian diseases. Human activities, such as agriculture, hunting and fishing, have also had a significant impact on numbers. Nevertheless, this species' huge range and large population mean that it is not threatened globally.

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