Thursday, January 30, 2014

Northern Pintail

The male northern pintail is a duck with a dark brown head, blue-gray bill and a white stripe extending down the side of its head to its white breast. It his gray legs, feet, sides and back and brown and black patterning on its sides and back, and particularly black stripes on the back in the shoulder area. . It also has a long central tail feather which gives it its name of "pintail."  The female northern pintail has a shorter tail, a lighter brown head, and a scalloped and mottled light brown back. Pintails spend the summers and breed in northern climes, including Alaska, Canada and the northern half of the U.S. and winters in the southern U.S., Mexico, Central America and the northern tip of South America. They also breed in northern Europe and Asia and winter in southern Europe, southern Asia and Africa. I saw these pintails at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. 
Male northern pintail.
Female and male northern pintail
Northern pintails with a roseate spoonbill in the background. 

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