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Great White Pelican

Pelecanus onocrotalus

Description:

Immature Great White Pelicans are grey and have dark flight feathers. In flight, it is an elegant soaring bird, with the head held close to and aligned with the body by a downward bend in the neck. In breeding condition the male has pinkish skin on its face and the female has orangey skin. It differs from the Dalmatian Pelican by its pure white, rather than greyish-white, plumage, a bare pink facial patch around the eye and pinkish legs. Males are larger than females, and have a long beak that grows in a downwards arc, as opposed to the shorter, straighter beak of the female.

Habitat:

Seen at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary.

Notes:

The pelican's pouch serves simply as a scoop. As the pelican pushes its bill underwater, the lower bill bows out, creating a large pouch which fills with water and fish. As the bird lifts its head, the pouch contracts, forcing out the water but retaining the fish. A group of 6 to 8 great white pelicans will gather in a horseshoe formation in the water to feed together. They dip their bills in unison, creating a circle of open pouches, ready to trap every fish in the area. Most feeding is cooperative and done in groups, especially in shallow waters where fish schools can be corraled easily, though these pelicans may forage alone as well.

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2 Comments

Wild Things
Wild Things 4 years ago

Thanks Sarala!

Nice

India

Lat: 22.78, Long: 72.05

Spotted on Apr 30, 2013
Submitted on May 28, 2013

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