10 Important Pelican Bird Facts You Probably Don’t Know

Pelicans are one of nature’s most fascinating birds, but there’s a lot that you might not know. Pelicans are large water birds that you can find all over the world. They live in warm climates near ponds, lakes, and the oceans. They are often seen scooping up fish while they soar majestically through the sky on their long sturdy wings.

Advertisements

There are few birds with as much uniqueness and charisma as the pelican. Large, white, stork-like birds with a mouth that stretches wide to catch fish, they have been an essential part in legends and myths (e.g., The Pelican Brief) throughout different cultures. Here are 10 other things you may not have known about pelicans.

Advertisements

What are Pelicans

Pelicans are a type of large seabird with a long, thin, pointed beak and short legs. The bird is also called a pelican, which comes from the Greek word “pelekan”, meaning “axe”. Pelicans’ diet mainly consists of fish but they will eat anything that is available to them.

They are predators and scavengers. Pelicans have a wingspan of up to 8 feet and the average height is 10 to 15 inches. The average weight is 6 to 16 pounds. There are 23 species of pelicans. All are from the family Pelecanidae.

Advertisements

The Pelicans found in the ocean or lakes, generally stay near the coastline or on islands and shorelines as they prefer shallow waters for feeding and nesting. They do not really like wetlands because of their thick legs which can get stuck in mud easily. Some will

Advertisements

Where do Pelicans live?

Pelicans are mostly found in coastal habitats and they will typically migrate to their destinations by following the coastline. They are also known to stay close to a food source. Pelicans have been seen as far away as Canada, but they like to stay relatively close to home.

Advertisements

How big are Pelicans and weight?

Pelicans are the largest species of pelican and are found in subtropical, temperate and tropical regions. Their length can range from 100-150 cm with a wingspan that is typically around 250 cm. They weigh up to 16 kgs. Pelicans generally fly in groups of 500-1000 individuals, but they also eat on their own.

Advertisements

What do pelicans eat?

Pelicans mainly eat crustaceans, fish and insects that they have caught while diving. Pelicans don’t have their own webbed feet so they use their beaks to catch and swallow prey whole. They can store food underwater in various pouches in their throats and crop until they are ready to eat it. They will eat water plants when available but don’t rely on them for food.

Advertisements

Why do pelicans have a pouch?

Pelicans have a pouch on their breast because they lose feathers while they are underwater. Weather and salt water make it difficult to maintain their feathers.

Advertisements

When does the Pelican breed?

It is believed that pelicans are paired off for life, so there would be no breeding season for them. However, it’s thought that the older parents will strategically “pair up” with younger drakes to keep their genes alive in the population.

Breeding happens on or near water and takes place from March to September. The nest is built of large sticks on a mostly precarious mud-based platform next to water with a PVC pipe sticking out as an egg drop outlet. The pelican usually lays only one egg due to its large size, which unlike most birds eggs is white.

Advertisements

Do Pelicans migrate or travel close to home?

Pelicans can be found wetland areas in North America, South America, and from the Western coast of Africa to India. They typically travel close to home, but occasionally travel as far as 600 miles away.

Advertisements

How long do Pelicans live for?

Unlike most other birds, pelicans can live up to forty years. They are monogamous and form lifelong bonds with a partner. Pelicans also have some of the most efficient digestive systems for their size, which allows them to eat almost anything. Pelicans are born with a full set of feathers and can fly at three weeks old.

Advertisements

Pelicans are an unusual bird. They can be found in some of the world’s harshest deserts, as well as in chilly northern latitudes. They have an amazing sense of smell and can find fish from up to 5 miles away. Pelicans are very social birds and live in colonies that number from a few dozen to many thousands of individuals.

Advertisements

In conclusion, there is still a lot to be learned about these fascinating birds. Pelicans are one of the most hunted birds in the world due to their spearing tendencies so it is important that we learn as much about them as possible. This will help us to protect them from further hunting and also from habitat loss as the world’s climate changes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply