A new species to Ecuador: Northern Pintail

On 28 June 2012 a male Northern Pintail Anas acuta was discovered during a monthly water bird census on Lago San Pablo, prov. Imbabura. The bird was first seen by Karen Tatiana Teran Portelles, Zayana Lopez, Pablo Echeverría, Eduardo Obando, Elizabeth Cuamacas and Santiago Valdivieso. It was observed in a large flock of Yellow-billed Pintails Anas georgica and the observers managed to photograph the vagrant duck. Photos were uploaded to their Facebook account and the observation was subsequently reported on the .

After reading the report in the evening of 2 July we decided to go look for the pintail the next morning. First we saw it c. 1km east of Puerto Lago. The sighting was so distant that we were just able to identify the bird with the telescope. Later we tried to get closer to it by using a motorized boat but we failed to relocate the bird. After two hours of continuous searching we finally found the bird on the northeastern bank of the lake opposite of Puerto Lago. It had been resting on the shore together with c. 50 Yellow-billed Pintails and we noticed it when it flew off with the flock. The flock landed c. 200m in front of us on the water and we were able to observe the Northern Pintail well with our telescopes. The pintails slowly returned to the shore but the Northern Pintail stayed on the water and behaved wary. We were able to get some distant record shots. The bird seemed to be in good condition and the wings were intact.

There have been a few records of Northern Pintail in South America with the majority of records from Colombia and Venezuela. This is the first record of the species for Ecuador and also one of the southernmost ones. Apparently there has been a record of Northern Pintail as far south as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.Pintail-2

Roger Ahlman, Jonas Nilsson and Dušan Brinkhuizen

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Aves Ecuador by Dušan M. Brinkhuizen