Like many southern ducks, the sexes are similar. It is mainly brown with white cheeks and a red-based grey bill (young birds lack the pink). It cannot be confused with any other duck in its range.
The white-cheeked pintail feeds on aquatic plants and small creatures obtained by dabbling. The nest is on the ground under vegetation and near wate.
In the wild
- b. bahamensis—lesser Bahama pintail—in the Caribbean, and a vagrant to southern Florida
- b. rubirostris—greater Bahama pintail—in South America; it may be partly migratory, breeding in Argentina and wintering further north.
- b. galapagensis—Galapagos pintail—in the Galapagos
White-Cheeked Pintails eat both animals and plants. Much of the animal life they eat are invertebrates. Some of the animals Pintails eat are shorefly larvae, brine shrimp, water boatmen, scuds, aquatic nematodes and midge larvae. Foods are seived from the pond or lake bottom by “dabbling” “tipping up” or feeding with the head-under posture in shallow water. Pintails also eat seeds of wigeon grass, foxtail grass, panic grass, and wild millet.