I Love Pelicans

North American Pelican


I Love Pelicans

Brown Pelican

Every since I was a small child, I have loved Pelicans.  My mother told me that I would point at them and laugh.  The pelicans knew that I was not making fun of them because they would come over and say “hello.”

Open wide

Let’s Look at Some Pelicans Pictures

They have a long beak and a large throat pouch for catching and holding food. The pouch can hold three buckets of fish!

I can hold three buckets of fish in my beak pouch

The throat is like a kitchen sink because it can drain.  There are eight species of pelicans which means that they have different sizes and colours.  They have huge wings that measure 5 m (15 feet) and, believe it or not, they can fly as high as 3,000 metres or 9,000 ft.  That is as high as some mountains. Their name comes the Greek word pelekys (πέλεκυς) meaning “axe.”  Their tails and short and square and their wings are very large.  They live on every continent except Antarctica. Pelicans have no nostrils and breathe through their bills.

Where to Find Them in the World

Orange countries are the homes of pelicans

 

 

Australian Pelican
South American Pelican

 

African Pelican

Four species or types of pelicans nest on the ground and the other four kinds nest in trees.  They like to live near the ocean or waterways where their main diet is fish.

They have a pale plumage while their relatives in South America are brown.  When it is time for pelicans to mate, their bills, pouches and face skin becomes more brightly coloured.  I gues they are ‘dressing up’ to go dating. LOL.  The American white pelican grows a prominent knob on its bill that is shed once females have laid eggs.  Newly hatched chicks are naked and pink, darkening to grey or black after 4 to 14 days, then developing a covering of white or grey downy feathers.

Pelican are Group Birds

If you want to impress someone use the word “gregarious” (greg-gare-e-us) that means that  animals or birds  like to live in flocks or groups.  They are related to the shoebill and hamerkop as well as ibes, herons and bitterns.  Pelicans are gentle birds that seldom fight and like to work and live together.

Trying to Survive in a Human World

When fish is scarce, many fishermen blame pelicans.  The biggest threat is the loss of land and human pollution. Humans must never throw away garbage such as plastic items and cans.  These can be accidently eaten by birds, sea animals and our pelican friends.

Other Interesting Facts About Pelicans

Fossils are rocks that contain the skeletons or parts of animals, fish and birds that lived millions of years ago. Scientists have discovered that pelicans have existed for at least 30 million years.  The oldest pelican fossil was found in France.  This French discovery show an almost complete beak that is identical to a peak of a pelican living today.

Working Alone and Working With Other Pelicans

In deep water, white pelicans often fish alone. Nearer the shore, several will encircle schools of small fish or form a line to drive them into the shallows, beating their wings on the water surface and then scooping up the prey.[67] They catch multiple small fish by expanding the throat pouch, which must be drained above the water surface before swallowing. This operation takes up to a minute, during which time other seabirds may steal the fish.

Raising a Family

All species of pelican lay at least two eggs.  Mom and dad incubate the eggs on or below their feet!  (This is just like male pelicans accept their keep the eggs on their feet).  They do this for over 30 days and the chicks so learn to feed from the food in their parents’ bills. This is food that is chewed into mush and then brought up into the bill.

This  method of feeding is called regurgitaton (re-gur-jit-tay-shun).  After about a week, the chics can eat freshly caught and not chewed up fish themselves.

Honouring the Pelican

The great white pelican is the national bird of ROMANIA.

It is also the state bird of the US state of LOUISANA. which is fondly the “Pelican State.” The brown pelican is the national bird of three Caribbean countries—SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, BARDOS AND SINT MAATEN.  Each of these countries has the pelican on their coat of arms.