Pelicans

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6 records

A Pelican is a large water bird with a large throat pouch. Pelicans are found on all continents except Antarctica. These are birds of inland and coastal waters, they are absent from polar regions, the deep ocean, oceanic islands, and inland South America.

Pelicans are large birds with large pouched bills. The smallest is the Brown Pelican [106 cm] and the largest is believed to be the Dalmatian Pelican [183 cm]. The Australian Pelican has the longest bill of any bird.

Pelicans swim well with their short, strong legs and their feet with all four toes webbed. The tail is short and square. Pelicans rub the backs of their heads on their preen glands to pick up their oily secretion, which they transfer to their plumage to waterproof it.

Records

American White Pelican

Total Photos: 5

The American White Pilican is a large aquatic bird. It breeds in interior North America, moving south and to the coasts, as far as Central America, in winter.

It is a very large and plump bird; its overall length is about 170 cm, courtesy of the huge beak which measures 370 mm in males and 260–330 mm in females. It has a wingspan of about 300 cm and weighs between 9 kg. The plumage is almost entirely bright white, except the black primary and secondary remiges, which are hardly visible except in flight. From early spring until after breeding has finished in mid-late summer, the breast feathers have a yellowish hue. After moulting into the eclipse plumage, the upper head often has a grey hue, as blackish feathers grow between the small wispy white crest.

The bill is long and flat, with a large throat sac, and in the breeding season vivid orange like the iris, the bare skin around the eye, and the feet. In the breeding season, there is a laterally flattened ""horn"" on the upper bill, about one-third the bill's length behind the tip. This is shed off after the birds have mated and laid their eggs, and outside the breeding season the bare parts become duller in color, with the naked facial skin yellow and the bill, pouch and feet an orangy-flesh color.

Apart from the difference in size, males and females look exactly alike. Immature birds have light grey plumage with darker brownish nape and remiges. Their bare parts are dull grey. Hatchlings are naked at first, then grow white down feathers all over, before moulting to the immature plumage.

Brown Pelican

Total Photos: 4

The Brown Pelican is the smallest amongst all species of pelican. It is 140 cm in length and weighs around 5.5 kg. Wingspan is around 2.5 m

The Brown Pelican can be seen on coasts in the Americas from Washington and Virginia south to northern Peru and the mouth of the Amazon River, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago. Some immature birds may stray to inland freshwater lakes.

The nest location varies from a simple scrape on the ground on an island to a bulky stick nest in a low tree. These birds nest in colonies, usually on islands. After nesting, North American birds move in flocks further north along the coasts, returning to warmer waters for winter.

Brown Pelican is distinguished from the American White Pelican by its brown body and its habit of diving for fish from the air. It eats mainly fish and amphibians. Groups of Brown Pelicans often travel flying low over the water's surface.

Dalmatian Pelican

Total Photos: 2

The Dalmatian pelican is a massive member of the pelican family. It breeds from southeastern Europe to India and China in swamps and shallow lakes. The nest is a crude heap of vegetation.

This huge bird is by a slight margin the largest of the pelican species and one of the largest living bird species. It measures upto 6 ft in length, 15 kg in weight and 11.5 ft in wingspan.

Great White Pelican

Total Photos: 3

It breeds from southeastern Europe through Asia and in Africa in swamps and shallow lakes. The great white pelican is a huge bird, with only the Dalmatian pelican averaging larger amongst the pelicans. The wingspan can range upto 12 ft, with the latter measurement the largest recorded among extant flying animals outside of the great albatrosses. The total length of the great white pelican can range upto 71 in, with the enormous bill comprising 18.5 in of that length.

Hamerkop

Total Photos: 1

The Hamerkop is a medium-sized wading bird. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. It ranges from Africa, Madagascar to Arabia, in wetlands of a wide variety, including estuaries, lakesides, fish pond, riverbanks and rocky coasts in Tanzania. The Hamerkop, which is a sedentary bird that often show local movements, is not globally threatened and is locally abundant in Africa and Madagascar.

Spot-billed Pelican

Total Photos: 2

The Spot-billed Pelican is a member of the pelican family. It breeds in southern Asia from southern Pakistan across India east to Indonesia. It is a bird of large inland and coastal waters, especially large lakes. At a distance they are difficult to differentiate from other pelicans in the region although it is smaller but at close range the spots on the upper mandible, the lack of bright colors and the grayer plumage are distinctive. In some areas these birds nest in large colonies close to human habitations.