White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis)

White-cheeked Pintail

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Anas bahamensis | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] White-cheeked Pintail | [FR] Canard de Bahamas | [DE] Bahamaente | [ES] Anade Gargantillo | [NL] Bahamapijlstaart


Monotypic species


Anas is a genus of dabbling ducks. It includes mallards, wigeons, teals, pintails and shovelers in a number of subgenera. Some authorities prefer to elevate the subgenera to genus rank.[1] Indeed, as the moa-nalos are very close to this clade and may have evolved later than some of these lineages, it is rather the absence of a thorough review than lack of necessity that this genus is rather over-lumped. The phylogeny of this genus is one of the most confounded ones of all living birds. Research is hampered by the fact the radiation of the two major groups of Anas ? the teals and mallard groups ? took place in a very short time and fairly recently, roughly in the mid-late Pleistocene. Furthermore, hybridization may have long played a major role in Anas evolution, with within-subgenus hybrids regularly and between-subgenus hybrids not infrequently being fully fertile.[1] The relationships between species are much obscured by this fact, and mtDNA sequence data is of dubious value in resolving their relationships; on the other hand, nuclear DNA sequences evolve too slowly to resolve the phylogeny of the subgenus Anas for example. Some major clades can be discerned. For example, that the traditional subgenus Anas, the mallard group, forms a monophyletic (in the loose sense, i.e. non-holophyletic) group has never been seriously questioned by modern science and is as good as confirmed (but see below). On the other hand, the phylogeny of the teals is very confusing. For these reasons, the dabbling duck lineages more distantly related to mallard group (which includes the type species of Anas) than the wigeons should arguably be separated in their own genera. These would include the Baikal Teal, the Garganey, the spotted black-capped Punanetta group, and the shovelers and other blue-winged species. Whether the wigeons, which are very distinct in morphology and behavior, but much less so in mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequences, should also be considered a distinct genus Mareca (including the Gadwall and Falcated Duck) is essentially the one remaining point of dispute as regards the question which taxa should remain in this genus and which ones should not.

Physical charateristics

The White-cheeked Pintail is a medium-sized dabbling duck. the adult has brown upperparts with black feathers bordered with pale buff on back. The tail is pointed and yellowish. Wing coverts are brown. Great coverts have yellowish tips. Tertials are blackish with pale brown edges. Secondaries bases show metallic green band and black sub terminal band with broad yellowish edge on the tip.
Underparts are warm brown, spotted with black on breast and belly. Undertail coverts are yellowish. Underwing is dark, except paler central band, blackish flight feathers and pale trailing edge.
Crown and nape are brown, slightly spotted with dark. Sides of the head, throat and upper neck are pure white. Bill is blue-grey with red sides at base of upper mandible, and black nail. Eyes are brown. Legs and webbed feet are dark grey.
Both sexes are similar, but female has duller bill and face, and shorter tail. Female is slightly smaller than male.
Juvenile resembles adults, but with slightly duller bill and plumage

Listen to the sound of White-cheeked Pintail

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ANSERIFORMES/Anatidae/sounds/White-cheeked Pintail.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 86 cm wingspan max.: 90 cm
size min.: 43 cm size max.: 51 cm
incubation min.: 25 days incubation max.: 26 days
fledging min.: 40 days fledging max.: 26 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 10  


South America : also Caribbean


White-cheeked Pintail lives in brackish and salt water, such as ponds, lagoons, lakes, mangroves, estuaries, but also shallow freshwater ponds and lakes, and open wet areas. It may be found from sea level to 2500 metres of elevation in Bolivia.


White-cheeked Pintail pair forms after post-breeding moult. Breeding varies according to the range.
Nest is situated on the ground, near water. It is concealed among and under the vegetation of the shore, or among the roots in mangroves.
Female lays 6 to 10 creamy eggs. Incubation lasts about 25 to 26 days.

Feeding habits

White-cheeked Pintail feeds on small aquatic animals, and seeds of aquatic vegetation, but also algae.

Video White-cheeked Pintail


copyright: J. del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
White-cheeked Pintail lives in Caribbean, South America and Galapagos Islands. Birds from Caribbean move to Texas and Florida.
White-cheeked Pintail status Least Concern


Galapagos Islands and West Indies populations mostly sedentary, but race rubirostris somewhat more dispersive, occurring in the lowlands to the North of east range outside breeding season. In Suriname sedentary.

Distribution map

White-cheeked Pintail distribution range map

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