Yellow-billed Pintail




Yellow-billed Pintail in South America

Scientific name: Anas georgica

Family: Anatidae

Spanish name: Pato maicero

Migration: Partial Neotropical migrant

Population estimate: 100,000-1,000,000 ([1])

Trend: Stable ([1])

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 10,000 ([1])

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

The subspecies A. geogica spinicauda distributes in southern South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and South-eastern Brazil) south to Tierra del Fuego and the Malvinas / Falkland Islands, and also along the Andes up to south-western Colombia. One of the commonest ducks in Argentina and Chil, with the highest abundances recorded within the Pampas and central Chile (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: Meseta de Strobel, Cañada Tres Árboles and Cañada Morteros in Argentina.


Migration and seasonality

Breeding from central Argentina (Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires provinces) south to Tierra del Fuego and the Malvinas / Falkland Islands, migrating northwards in the autumn to Santiago del Estero and the southern Andes. Some populations migrate also to Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil (bird banded in Buenos Aires province in Argentina was recovered in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). In Tierra del Fuego birds leave in March / April to come back by August / September. Migration occurs along the western, central and eastern Argentina routes. Some birds spend the whole year in southern Patagonia (link to Seasonality map).



All kind of wetlands, including lakes and lagoons with vegetated wide shallows, fresh-water marshes, marine coasts, estuaries, saltmarshes and tidal creeks, rivers, flooded grasslands, stubble and rice-fields.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious during the non-breeding season, in large flocks and sometimes in mixed flocks with other duck species, like the Speckled Teal (Anas flavirostris). Common in artificial ponds close to farm houses, sharing the habitat with poultry. Also in rice fields and crops and in some areas considered a pest of rice and corn. A game species, undergoing a high hunting pressure in southern South America.



Albrieu, C., S. Imberti & S. Ferrari. 2004. Las aves de la Patagonia Sur - El Estuario del Río Gallegos y zonas aledañas. Ed. Univ. Nac. Patagonia Austral, Río Gallegos. 204 pp.

Blanco, D.E., B. López-Lanús, R.A. Dias, A. Azpiroz & F. Rilla. 2006. Uso de arroceras por chorlos y playeros migratorios en el sur de América del Sur. Implicancias de conservación y manejo. Wetlands International. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Canevari, M., P. Canevari, G.R. Carrizo, G. Harris, J. Rodríguez Mata & R. Straneck. 1991. Nueva Guía de las Aves Argentinas. Fundación Acindar. Santiago de Chile. Tome I: 200 pp. and Tome II: 182 pp.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds). 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Ed., Barcelona.

Fjeldsa, J. & N. Krabbe. 1990. Birds of the High Andes. Zoological Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Menegheti, J.O. & J.C. Dotto. 2002. Regulaciones de caza en Rio Grande do Sul y resultados de los monitoreos de Anátidos: acuerdos y controversias; in Blanco, D.E., J. Beltrán & V. de la Balze (eds.): Primer Taller sobre la Caza de Aves Acuáticas: 59-66. Wetlands International.

Menegheti, J.O., F. Rilla & M.I. Burger. 1990. Waterfowl in South America: their status, trends and distribution. In Matthews, G.V.T. (ed.): Managing Waterfowl Populations: 97-103. Proc. IWRB Symposium, Astrakhan 1989. IWRB Publ. 12. Slimbridge, UK.

Olrog, C.C. 1963. Lista y distribución de las aves argentinas. Opera Lilloana IX, Tucumán.

Olrog, C.C. 1968. El anillado de aves en la Argentina: 1964-1966 – Quinto informe. Neotropica 14 (43): 17-22.

Olrog, C.C. 1971. El anillado de aves en la Argentina: 1961-1971 - Séptimo informe. Neotropica 17 (53): 97-100.

Olrog, C.C. 1973. El anillado de aves en la Argentina: 1961-1972 – Octavo informe. Neotropica 19 (59): 69-72.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

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Woods, R.W. & Anne Woods. 1997. Atlas of Breeding birds of the Falkland Islands. Anthony Nelson, England. 190 pp.




Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Diego Monteleone

Photographer: Roberto Güller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Yellow-billed Pintail in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.

([1] ) For subspecies Anas georgica spinicauda; not including the Falkland / Malvinas Islands (1,800-3,000 birds) and the subspecies A.g. georgica (< 10,000).




Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Yellow-billed Pintail



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