Pintails (Anas acuta) male
Status: Local winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland from October to March.
Conservation Concern: Red-listed in Ireland, due to a significant decrease in the numbers wintering in Ireland. The European population has been asssessed as Declining, due to a moderate ongoing decline.
Identification: Large, elegant duck, males with elongated tail feathers, brown head, white breast and lower neck, the white extending as a narrow stripe into the brown on either side of the head. Grey flanks, black rump, blackish-green speculum, bordered by white at the rear, and pale rufous at the front. Females brown and scalloped with long pointy tail.
Similar Species: Other duck species.
Call: Males with clear whistle 'krru', lower pitched than Teal.
Diet: Their diet consists largely of plant seeds and underwater plants, while insects and crustaceans are also eaten. They also feed on farmland, particularly stubble.
Breeding: Nest in shallow freshwater marshes, small lakes and rivers, preferably with dense vegetation cover. Small breeding population of between 30 and 40 pairs in Britain, and there have been a few breeding records in Ireland - one pair in County Down in 1994.
Wintering: In winter, they form large flocks on brackish coastal lagoons, in estuaries and on large inland lakes.
Where to See: Top sites include Tacumshin Lake in County Wexford, Strangford Lough in County Down, Dublin Bay in County Dublin, Little Brosna Callows in County Offaly and Dundalk Bay in County Louth (100-300 birds).