During courtship, the male, all the while whistling, will swim close to the female with his head down and tail up to impress the hen. If there is a group of males all courting the same female, the males will chase the female in flight. The males will lose track of her one by one, until only one male is left, and to his victory comes the opportunity to leave his legacy. Copulation takes place in the water and the female gets ready by laying her body close to the ground. The male then starts bobbing his head up and down. He then mounts the female and takes the feathers on the back of her head in his mouth. After he finishes, he lifts his head and back up and whistles. (Gooders & Boyer 1986; Soothill & Whitehead 1988; Palmer 1976)
Mating System: monogamous
Mating season is in early May, and if predators destroy the hen’s eggs, she can replace the clutch as late as the end of July, a process called double clutching. Pintail become sexually mature at 1 year old. (Soothill, Whitehead 1988; Palmer 1976)
A Northern Pintail hen lays 7 to 9 cream colored eggs in May usually laying one egg per day, and the hen alone will incubate them for 22 to 24 days. After the chicks hatch, the hen will lead them to the nearest body of water where they will search for dead insects on the surface of the water. The chicks will attain flight in 46 to 47 days after hatching and the family will stay together until the hen re-grows the feathers needed to fly and she leaves her chicks.
(Soothill, Whitehead 1996; Gooders, Boyer 1986; Bellrose 1980)
Breeding season: Spring and summer
Range eggs per season: 7 to 9.
Range time to hatching: 22 to 24 days.
Range fledging age: 46 to 57 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Average eggs per season: 8.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 240 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 240 days.
Parental Investment: precocial ; female parental care