Pintail at WWT Martin Mere Nature Reserve near Bourscough, Lancashire, UK - January 2018
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.
What they eat:
A variety of plants and invertebrates.
Weight:0.55 to 2.2 kg
UK breeding:9-33 pairs
UK wintering:29,000 birds
Where and when to see them
Pintails are a localised species, occurring at sheltered coasts and estuaries. Particularly large concentrations can be found on sites such as the Dee Estuary, Solway Estuary and Ouse Washes.
You can see pintails all year round. Wintering birds arrive from September with numbers peaking in December. The return migration takes place from late February into March.
RSPB Amberley Wildbrooks
RSPB Dee Estuary - Point of Ayr
RSPB Lough Foyle
RSPB Havergate Island
RSPB Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve
RSPB The Loons and Loch of Banks