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65 to 75 cm in length, while females are smaller at 50 to 55 cm.
Isolated southern populations of pintails from Kerguelen (eatoni) and the Crozet Islands (drygalskii) are treated either as subspecies of Northern Pintail or as full species.
Breeds on freshwaters including flooded meadows, well-vegetated lakes or slow-flowing rivers.
It feeds by dabbling for plant food mainly in the evening or at night. Diet includes aquatic insects, mollusks and crustaceans as well as grasses and seeds in fields.
The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground lined with plant material and down, in a dry location that may be fairly far from water.
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