Tuesday, September 17, 2013



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PELICANS (Pelecanidae)

  • Type: Bird
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 10 to 25 years or more
  • Size: Body, 5.8 ft (1.8 m); wingspan, 10 ft (3 m)
  • Weight: 30 lbs (13 kg)

* Species in family 8.
* Pelicans are among the larger and heavier birds in the world, so very impressive in flight. 
* They are indeed famous for their beaks, which they fill with huge gulps of water, strain out the liquid, and eat the remaining fish or squid.
* Pelicans swim well with their short, strong legs and their feet with all four toes webbed.
* The tail is short and square, with 20 to 24 feathers.
* Wings are long and have the unusually large number of 30 to 35 secondary flight feathers.

Pelicanas the National Zoological Gardens, Sri Lanka
 Many pelicans fish by swimming in cooperative groups. They may form a line or a "U" shape and drive fish into shallow water by beating their wings on the surface. When fish congregate in the shallows, the pelicans simply scoop them up. The brown pelican, on the other hand, dives on fish (usually a type of herring called menhaden) from above and snares them in its bill. Pelicans do not store fish in their pouch, but simply use it to catch them and then tip it back to drain out water and swallow the fish immediately. The American white pelican can hold some 3 gallons (11 1/2 liters) of water in its bill. Young pelicans feed by sticking their bills into their parents' throats to retrieve food.
A group of pelicans waiting for fish during feeding time at the National Zoological Gardens, Sri Lanka

Pelicans are found on many of the world's coastlines and also along lakes and rivers. They are social birds and typically travel in flocks, often strung out in a line. They also breed in groups called colonies, which typically gather on islands.


The Dalmatian Pelican and the Spot-billed Pelican are the rarest species, with the population of the former estimated at between 10,000 and 20,000 and that of the latter at 13,000 to 18,000. The most common is believed to be the Australian Pelican, with a population generally estimated at around 400,000 individuals. However, estimates for the species have varied wildly between 100,000 and 1,000,000 over the years, and it is possible that the White Pelican, the population of which is more consistently estimated at 270,000 and 290,000 individuals, is in fact the more common species. The brown pelican may be even more numerous with estimates of 650,000 birds throughout its range. It has been removed from the endangered species list.


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