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< >  Anas georgica - Yellow-billed pintail (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Brown pintail
Niceforo’s pintail - Anas georgica niceforoi (Extinct)
Spitzschwanzente (German)
Canard queue pointue (French)
Pilet bec jaune (French)
Anade maicero (Spanish)
Pato jergon (Spanish)
Anas georgica georgica - South Georgia pintail, South Georgia teal
Anas georgica spinicauda - Chilean pintail, brown pintail
Anas georgica niceforoi - Niceforo's pintail (extinct)
Dafila georgica

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B5, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B97, B128.w1
D1, D8

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques


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Aviculture information


General Information:
  • Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.
  • A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.
  • Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Yellow-billed pintails (Anas georgica spinicauda - Chilean pintail or Brown pintail) are winter-hardy and may be kept in a mixed collection with other ducks.
  • These ducks (Anas georgica spinicauda - Chilean pintail) breed readily, using natural close ground cover for nesting, eggs laid April to May..
  • Hybrids reported with Aix sponsa - Wood duck, Netta rufina - Red-crested pochard and various Anas species.

(B29, B30, B94, B97)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average closed ring size: J 9.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 19-21 inches, 48-54cm (B3); Anas georgica georgica 43-55cm, Anas georgica spinicauda 65cm (B1).
Adult weight General Anas georgica georgica 460-660g; Anas georgica spinicauda 663-827g (B1).
Male Anas georgica georgica 610-660g (B3), 1.3-1.6 lbs. (three males)(B8); Anas georgica spinicauda 740-827g average 776g (B3), mean 1.7 lbs. (B8).
Female Anas georgica georgica 460-610g (B3), 1.0-1.3 lbs. (two females)(B8); Anas georgica spinicauda 663-769g average 705g (B3), mean 1.6 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Bright yellow, black stripe down culmen, black nail, blueish tip (B3, B5, B8, B25).
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Brown (B3, B5, B8, B25).
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Bright yellow, black stripe down culmen, black nail, blueish tip (B3, B5, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Brown (B3, B5, B25).

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Adult Male Grey (B3, B5, B25).
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Grey (B3, B5, B25).

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Adult Male Anas georgica spinicauda: Head and long neck brown with fine black mottling, paler and plainer throat and foreneck. Body buff-brown with dark brown-black centres to feathers – appears spotted on breast, paler and less marked on abdomen, upperparts feathers brown-black with buff edges. Wing grey-brown, greater coverts buff-tipped, secondaries glossy black with buff tips - speculum glossy black edged with buff (B8, B25).
Variations (If present) Female:- slightly duller, central abdomen whiter; wing as male except secondaries duller black-brown (B1 B3, B5, B25).

Subspecies variation:- georgica much darker, more reddish-brown than spinicauda, flanks and abdomen flanks and abdomen darker - red-brown with dark spotting; niceforoi (extinct) was darker than spinicauda, head and neck more streaked, crown dark brown, tail shorter (B1, B3, B5, B25).

Juvenile Similar to adults, but greyer, breast and underparts streaked (B1, B5, B25).

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Anas georgica georgica: Upperparts, head, neck and sides of breast dark brown with dull yellow-buff dorsal markings, breast, abdomen and faint lines above and below eyes dull yellow-buff. Anas georgica spinicauda: Upperparts dark grey-brown to black, underparts almost white (B1, B5).
: Grey (B5).
Feet: Grey (B5).

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Geographical variation, begin October-December in south of range, August to March in Peru, December on South Georgia (B1, B25); November to February South Georgia (B26).
No. of Clutches Sometimes double-brood in Chile and Falkland Islands (B1, B3, B25).

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Nest placement and structure

Hidden in vegetation on ground near water, platform of stems, grass and down lining (B1, B25, B26).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 4-10 eggs (B1); 4-12 (B8);
Egg Description Creamy or pale pinkish (B3, B8); size: Anas georgica spinicauda 56x40mm; weight: 42g (B3).

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About 26 days incubation (B1); 24-26 days (B8).

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45-60 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Presumed one year old (Anas standard).
Females Presumed one year old (Anas standard).

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Head-dip and up-end, also dabble on surface, graze and root for food and dive (B1, B25).
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary or in loose groups, built by female (B1, B8).
Incubation --
Newly-hatched Anas georgica georgica males assist female in tending brood (B25).


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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific In small groups outside breeding season (B25).
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair bonds may be long term, particularly in Anas georgica georgica (B25).

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Predation in Wild

Rats: Rattus norvegicus - Brown rat (B1).

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Activity Patterns

Circadian South Atlantic populations often forage at low tide.

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Natural Diet


Mixed diet – seeds, roots and vegetative parts of grasses, sedges, algae, other aquatic plants, also stubble and grain. Aquatic invertebrates (crustaceans, insects, molluscs) important for South Georgia population (Anas georgica georgica), which also scavenges on fur seal and penguin corpses; Anas georgica spinicauda more vegetarian (B1, B5, B8).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Anas georgica spinicauda from extreme southern Columbia south to Tierra del Fuego, eastward to eastern Argentina, and Falkland Islands. Anas georgica georgica South Georgia Island. Anas georgica niceforoi (extinct) was found central Colombia.

Southern populations of mainland birds migrate as far north (lower latitude) as southern Brazil. Birds of temperate regions generally sedentary; South Georgia population (Anas georgica georgica) mainly sedentary but birds do reach South Shetland Islands (B1, B19, B25)

Occasional and Accidental




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Freshwater lakes, marshes, rivers, lagoons, flooded meadows and (particularly Anas georgica georgica) on coasts; up to 4600m in puna zone (B1, B19).

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Intraspecific variation

Three sub-species recognised: Anas georgica georgica on South Georgia, Anas georgica spinicauda mainland South America and Falklands, Anas georgica niceforoi (extinct) formerly in central Colombia.

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Not globally threatened; Anas georgica spinicauda widely distributed, locally abundant. Anas georgica georgica abundant within its limited range (B1, B8).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Not particularly common in collections, mainly Anas georgica spinicauda represented (B8).

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