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White-cheeked Pintail

Latin: Anas bahamensis
Average length: 38-48 cm
Average weight: M 524 g, F 503g

Description: The crown and hindneck of the male white-cheeked pintail are medium-brown and weakly mottled. The sides of the head, throat and upper foreneck are pure white. The remainder of the body plumage is mostly warm medium-brown and spotted with black on the breast and underparts. The upperparts have black feather centers. The uppertail and undertail coverts and pointed tail are a warm buff. The upperwing coverts are brown, with buff tips to greater coverts. Tertials are somewhat elongated, pointed and blackish with pale-brown fringes. Secondaries have a narrow metallic-green basal band, black subterminal border and very wide buff terminal band. The underwing is dark, with a paler central band, blackish underside to flight feathers, pale trailing edge and white axillaries. He occasionally utters a low whistle. The female is white of face and bill coloration a little duller than the male, and is also a little smaller, with a shorter tail. Vocalization is a weak, descending series of "quack"s.

Breeding: The white-cheeked pintail is a yearlong resident of fresh to hypersaline bodies of water. Pair bonds are formed soon after the post-breeding molt. Breeding season is from February to June, but varies depending upon rainfall and availability of invertebrates. Nests are made of a scrape on dry land concealed under a clump of vegetation, sometimes a great distance from water. Hens may lay between 5-12 light tan eggs.

Migrating and Wintering: White-cheeked pintails are endemic to the Neotropical Realm. They are widely distributed and locally common in the Caribbean and mainly coastal regions of South America south to southern Chile and central Argentina. White-cheeked pintails are also found in the Galapagos Islands (Scott and Carbonell, 1986).

Population: : A. b. bahamenis (Caribbean) 75,000; A. b. galapagensis (Galapagos) <10,000; A. b. rubrirostris (Southern Neotropics) 100,000-1,000,000 (Rose and Scott, 1994). White-cheeked pintails are considered threatened due to overhunting, habitat destruction and predation of nests.

Food habits: White-cheeked pintails feed chiefly by dabbling and up-ending in shallow water.

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