Pintails are among the most abundant wildfowl species world-wide, their numbers running into millions. They breed right across the northern latitudes of America and Eurasia and are highly migratory, wintering in lowland marshes, coastal wetlands and estuaries of temperate and tropical regions as far south as northern South America, northern tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines. Great Britain is on the southern fringe of their breeding range, with fewer than fifty breeding pairs mostly in Scotland and East Anglia - numbers that have been declining in recent years. On the other hand, numbers wintering in Britain account for nearly half of the 60,000 estimated to winter in northwest Europe.
    In Wiltshire, Pintails were rare in the 19th Century and first half of the 20th Century, but have been recorded in every winter since 1960 with records typically from six or seven sites including aggregations of up to 50 at the Cotswold Water Park.


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.