Anas acuta - Linnaeus, 1758
Northern Pintail
Other English Common Names: northern pintail
Other Common Names: Marreca-Arrabio
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Anas acuta Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 175074)
French Common Names: canard pilet
Spanish Common Names: Pato Golondrino
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103829
Element Code: ABNJB10110
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 10641

© Dick Cannings

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Anas
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Anas acuta
Taxonomic Comments: See Livezey (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis and classification (supergenera, subgenera, infragenera, etc.) of dabbling ducks based on comparative morphology. Kerguelen Islands Duck (A. eatoni, including A.drygalskii), split from A. acuta (AOU 1997).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 21Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (26Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5N), Alaska (S5B,S5N), Arizona (S2B,S5N), Arkansas (S5N), California (SNRB,SNRN), Colorado (S5B,S4N), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (S4N), District of Columbia (S2N), Florida (SNRN), Georgia (S4), Hawaii (SNRN), Idaho (S4B,S4N), Illinois (S1), Indiana (SHB,S1N), Iowa (S2B,S5N), Kansas (S1B,S4N), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (S5N), Maine (S1B,S3S4N), Maryland (S4N), Massachusetts (S1B,S5M), Michigan (SNRN), Minnesota (SNRB,SNRN), Mississippi (S4N), Missouri (SNRN,SNRM), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S2?B), Nebraska (S3), Nevada (S5), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (S4B,S5N), New York (S1B,S3N), North Carolina (S4N), North Dakota (SNRB), Oklahoma (S3S5), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S3N), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (S5B,S3N), Tennessee (S4N), Texas (S3B,S5N), Utah (S4S5B,S4N), Vermont (S1B), Virginia (S1), Washington (S3B,S4N), West Virginia (S3N), Wyoming (S4N,S5B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S4B,S5N), Labrador (S4B,SUM), Manitoba (S4B), New Brunswick (S3B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S3B,SUM), Northwest Territories (S3B), Nova Scotia (S1B), Nunavut (S5B,S5M), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S1S2B), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M,S4N), Yukon Territory (S4B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: Holarctic. In North America, from tundra of Alaska, Canada, western Greenland, to western and central U.S.; also in Old World. NON-BREEDING: in Western Hemisphere, from eastern and southeastern (coastal) U.S., Great Lakes, southeastern Alaska southwestern British Columbia, western and southwestern U.S. south to northern Colombia and Venezuela, rarely to Surinam, including Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Hawaii; and Old World. In the U.S. the highest winter densities occur in northern Utah (Bear River refuge) and western Texas (Muleshoe refuge) (Root 1988).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Loss of breeding habitat in the prairies may be sufficient to account for declines of upland-nesting prairie populations (Nudds and Cole 1991).

Short-term Trend Comments: The most abundant breeding duck in the Arctic (Suchy and Anderson 1987). Breeding population index has decreased since the early 1970s; as of the late 1980s, the index was below the USFWS management objective (Di Silvestro 1986, USFWS 1988). However, boreal breeding population and brood size near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, did not change between the 1960s and the 1980s. Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a significant population decrease in North America between 1966 and 1989 (Droege and Sauer 1990).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: Holarctic. In North America, from tundra of Alaska, Canada, western Greenland, to western and central U.S.; also in Old World. NON-BREEDING: in Western Hemisphere, from eastern and southeastern (coastal) U.S., Great Lakes, southeastern Alaska southwestern British Columbia, western and southwestern U.S. south to northern Colombia and Venezuela, rarely to Surinam, including Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Hawaii; and Old World. In the U.S. the highest winter densities occur in northern Utah (Bear River refuge) and western Texas (Muleshoe refuge) (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A duck.
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size usually 6-10 in older adults, 5-7 in yearlings. Adults nest earlier than do yearlings (Duncan 1987). Incubation 21-25 days, by female. Males abandon females early in incubation. Precocial nestlings tended by female, male usually present. Young fledge in about 6-7 weeks. Readily lays replacement clutch if first is lost. In Alaska, nutrient reserves were important in the formation of first clutches, more so than for any other duck species that has been studied (Esler and Grand, 1994, Condor 96:422-432). Northern Alaska: 0.3-1.5 nests per sq km in various locations; 1.0-1.8 nests per sq km in prairie pothole country (see Suchy and Anderson 1987).
Ecology Comments: Nonbreeding: usually in groups or small flocks associated with teals or wigeon (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Female and brood may move among different ponds during first few weeks after hatching.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Moves northward January-March; arrives in nesting areas in northern U.S. and Canada by early April, northern Alaska mid- to late May. Many continue north to arctic wetlands drought reduces wetlands in prairie pothole region. Migrates south beginning in early August. Arrives in Costa Rica in late September or October, departs in January or February, depending on water levels (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Males may engage in extensive migration to molting areas while females incubate (Johnson and Herter 1989).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Tundra
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Lakes, rivers, marshes and ponds in grasslands, barrens, dry tundra, open boreal forest or cultivated fields. Most breeding associated with seasonal and semipermanent wetlands (Suchy and Anderson 1987). Often nests near freshwater lakes and ponds, but may nest some distance from water. Readily uses stock-watering ponds in North Dakota (Suchy and Anderson 1987); uses all sorts of man-made ponds in Quebec (Belanger and Couture 1989). May nest under cover of low vegetation or in open. Broods use emergent vegetation for escape cover. Nest is a depression lined with plant material and down. NON-BREEDING: In migration and winter in both fresh-water and brackish situations (AOU 1983); prefers shallow, open freshwater lagoons, marshes, and slough in Costa Rica (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats various plants and animals, depending on availability. Feeds on seeds and nutlets of aquatic plants (sedges, grasses, pondweeds, smartweeds); also eats mollusks, crabs, minnows, worms, fairy shrimp, and aquatic insects. Animal foods important to females during prelaying and laying periods. Diet of juveniles includes mostly insects (Suchy and Anderson 1987). Dabbles for food; may also feed on waste grain in fields and marine animals on tidal flats.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 66 centimeters
Weight: 1035 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: In North Dakota, few broods on ponds of less than 0.2 ha; broods tend to use semipermanent wetlands. Habitat suitability index model assumes that optimum conditions exist for pairs when a minimum of 150 optimum wetlands account for a minimum of 65 ha per 259-ha section in prairie pothole country; optimum conditions for broods when at least 20.2 ha of optimum wetlands are present on a 259-ha section and at least 6 optimum wetlands of at least 0.4 ha are present (Suchy and Anderson 1987).
Management Requirements: See Barker et al. (1990) for information on the effects of different livestock grazing systems on nesting success in North Dakota. See Marcy (1986) for specifications for the construction and placement of wire nest baskets.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Dabbling Ducks

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between three times average home range diameters (about 5-6 kilometers), and the great mobility of these birds. Home ranges: female Black Duck, mean 130 hectares during prelaying and laying period (n = 7, Ringelman et al. 1982); Mallards, mean 283 hectares (Dzubin 1955), 210 hectares (females) and 240 hectares (males) (Gilmer et al. 1975).
Breeding site fidelity: female Black Ducks in New England, 25% returned to nest in the following year, most within 91 meters of previous nest (Coulter and Miller 1968).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1.6 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Diameter of average home range of Mallards (Gilmer et al. 1975).
Date: 08Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Staging area, Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/0.5 square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 11Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Molting area, Wintering area, Non-breeding feeding concentration area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of molting or wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/0.5 square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Mapping Guidance: Map roosting and feeding areas with separate polygons in same EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Wintering flocks of American Black Ducks fly an average of 10 kilometres from roost to foraging area, but have been recorded flying up to 43 kilometres (Frazer et al. 1990). However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 29May2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Dec1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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