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A pelican, derived from the Greek word pelekys (meaning “axe” and applied to birds that cut wood with their bills or beaks) is a large water bird with a large throat pouch, belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae.

Modern pelicans, of which there are eight species, are found on all continents except Antarctica. They primarily inhabit warm regions.

Overview of the Pelican

Overview of the Pelican

A pelican is a water bird with a large throat pouch. There are eight species of pelicans, which are found on all continents except Antarctica. The smallest species is the Brow Pelican, which can weigh as little as 6 pounds, with a wingspan of 6 feet. The largest is the Dalmation Pelican, which can weigh up to 33 pounds, with a wingspans of 10 feet. The Australian Pelican has the longest bill of any bird.

Pelicans swim very well, using their strong legs and webbed feet (a feature in all birds classified as pelicans). Pelicans eat mostly fish, but will also eat amphibians, crustaceans, and very rarely, other birds. They catch fish by expanding their throat pouch. They then must drain it for about a minute before they can swallow.

Young pelicans are fed by their parents large amounts. Scientists have observed that before or especially after being fed, pelican chicks may seem to have a seizure that ends with them falling unconscious. The reason for this is not clearly known.

The Dalmatian Pelican and the Spot-billed Pelican are the rarest species of pelican, with an estimated population of 10,000 to 20,000 and 13,000 to 18,000 respectively. The most common is believed to be the Australian Pelican, with an estimated population of 400,000. However, the White Pelican or Brown Pelican are close competitors in population size.

About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also guest writes for Dog Pound

Pelican Gifts




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