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Pintail

Anas acuta

This elegant dabbling duck is easy to identify due to their extra long, pointed tails, from which it gets its name.

All about pintail

Most pintail that spend the winter here spend the summer months in more northerly summer grounds: Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia. Very small numbers of pintail breed in the UK.

Male pintail have a dark brown head, a white neck and grey body, while females are brown with pointed tails. Both sexes have a long blueish-grey bill, graceful long necks and their eponymous ‘pin’ tails although the female’s tail is a little shorter.

Pintails have earned the nickname ‘greyhound of the air’ because of their streamlined shape and fast flight speeds. They fly at around 48 miles per hour during their migratory journeys. The longest nonstop flight recorded for a pintail was 1,800 miles.

Local spotlight

Pintail are not present in huge numbers around the Solent, although you’ll sometimes see them around Lymington and Langstone Harbour.

Conservation status

Pintail are amber listed in the UK. They are a qualifying feature for the Chichester and Langstone Harbour Special Protection Area – that means, when the site was designated, a nationally significant number used these coastlines in the winter.

Did you know

Although pintail normally live for about 3 years, some pintail have been recorded as living for more than 20 years.