pintail defined in 1930 yearpintail - Pintail;
pintail - Head and neck bronze-brown, black on the nape; a white stripe down the neck on each side, extending to the white breast and under parts; back and flanks mottled grey; greater wing- coverts buff; speculum green margined with black and white; tail black, the two middle feathers greatly prolonged; under tail- coverts black; bill, legs, and feet slaty grey. Length, twenty- eight inches. Female: mottled brown above and greyish white below; speculum green. In July the male assumes the female dress, and retains it until October.
The pintail, although not so handsomely coloured as the shoveler, mallard, wigeon, and teal, is the most elegant of the freshwater ducks, being slim and graceful in form, with the two slender middle feathers of the tail greatly elongated. Sea-pheasant is one of its local names, but the same name is sometimes given to the long-tailed duck (Harelda glacialis) on the north-east coast. The pintail is a winter visitor only to the British Islands, appearing in October, and is most common on the south coast. It is found in small flocks, and prefers shallow waters with muddy bottoms, and feeds on aquatic weeds, insects, and crustaceans. It is always most abundant near the shore, but is also met with on inland waters.
It has a rapid flight, and is a comparatively silent bird by day; its cry by night is a low quack, and in spring, during courtship, the drake utters soft and inward notes, which he accompanies with some curious gestures and antics. The pintail breeds freely in a semi-domestic state, and lays seven to ten eggs, pale buffish green in colour.
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