A geographic information system (GIS)-based spatial modeling approach was developed to study environmental and land use impacts on the geographic distribution of wintering northern pintails (Arias acuta) in the Lower Mississippi River region. Pintails were fitted with backpack radio transmitter packages at Catahoula Lake, LA, in October 1992-1994 and located weekly through the following March. Pintail survey data were converted into a digital database in ARC/INFO GIS format and integrated with environmental GIS data through a customized modeling interface. The study verified the relationship between pintail distributions and major environmental factors and developed a conceptual relation model. Visualization-based spatial simulations were used to display the movement patterns of specific population groups under spatial and temporal constraints. The spatial modeling helped understand the seasonal movement patterns of pintails in relation to their habitat usage in Arkansas and southwestern Louisiana for wintering and interchange situations among population groups wintering in Texas and southeastern Louisiana. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.