One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A mainly migratory duck with a pointed tail.
Genus Anas, family Anatidae: three species, in particular the northern pintail (A. acuta) of Eurasia and North America, the male of which has boldly marked plumage and two long tail streamers
- ‘Its skies were often darkened by blizzards of snow geese and immense flocks of great blue herons, swans, diving ducks, terns, pintails, mallards, Canada geese, osprey, bald eagles and more.’
- ‘At certain times there can be a million birds in front of you consisting of sandhill cranes, snow geese, cackling geese, white-fronted geese, pintails, wigeons and mallards.’
- ‘This group of duck species includes mallards, teal, pintails, and others that feed at or near the surface, where viruses in water are most likely to be picked up.’
- ‘Nestled in the hills of California's San Joaquin Valley, a tranquil pond invites flocks of ruddy ducks, pintails, and shovelers to feed at its shores.’
- ‘As a result, foraging conditions that female Mallard and pintail encounter during spring migration influence the amount of lipid stored and, thus, reproductive success.’
- 1.1informal Any of a number of other birds with long pointed tails, especially (in the US) a grouse.
- ‘As long as water existed nearby for resting, birds like Canada geese, widgeon, and pintails often thrived in the irrigated countryside.’
- ‘This helps to explain why pintails, mallards, and other ducks landed on farms and infuriated farmers in the Klamath Basin during the summer of 1946.’
- ‘One of the most widely distributed ducks in the world, the pintail is a medium-sized duck with slender, elegant body lines.’
- ‘The 2.56 million pintails could be used to justify allowing harvest of the birds over the whole duck season instead of just 39 days.’
- ‘Last year he counted 5,500 teal, 1,200 pintail and 2,000 widgeon among a duck population that has soared in numbers.’
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