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Conservation status: Amber

Slightly bigger than a mallard, these long-necked and small-headed ducks fly with a curved back pointed wings and a tapering tail, making this the best way to distinguish them from other ducks in the UK. The pintail is a 'quarry' species, meaning that it can be legally shot in winter, but - unlike in parts of Europe - it does not appear that shooting is affecting their population status in the UK. The small breeding population and significant winter population make them an Amber List species.



Latin name

Anas acuta


Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)

Where to see them

A localised species, pintails occur sheltered coasts and estuaries. Particularly large concentrations found on sites such as the Dee Estuary, Solway Estuary and Ouse Washes.

When to see them

All year. Wintering birds arrive from September with numbers peaking in December. The return migration takes place from late February into March.

What they eat

A variety of plants and invertebrates.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-9-33 pairs29,000 birds-




Marco Dragonetti, Xeno-canto

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