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female pintail

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Had to make it an "incidental" checklist for eBird as we were running short on time but I HAD to stop when I saw some pintails on a farm pond. Males are SO easy to pickup on but the females, especially from a distance... not as easy. When they're hanging out together it's easy to make the assumption and then, notice similarities.  I took pictures and waiting til later to look at them... 

While going through trying to see if we had 2 pairs there, in one shot I noticed the back ends of the male and the female matched. So, that's really my question here. Is that even a way to ID a female duck, or at least a pintail???   You can see here the white marks on the left and right, on the back end of the birds... male and female, matches perfectly.  Attaching a better pic of the female to confirm but seeing those matching marks just had me curious. ?



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Thanks... I think I type so much I lose people... or that I simply just don't state/ask something directly enough.
My main question here was about the back end view of the two ducks... since it does appear to be male and female... the white markings of both birds here match. So I was wondering if that pattern/marking could be used to help ID a female pintail in the field, especially if a male were not present.  Does that make sense??? 

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The male gets that white patch from a white "hip", whereas the female's white comes from the secondaries.  Other males have white hips (wigeon), and other females have white secondaries, (gadwall), so no you can't rely soley on the white spots in the rear view to id a female pintail, especially since those secondaries are not always visible.

Instead, look for that smooth, warm, unmarked head with a grey bill.


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