Pelican Facts

Pelican Facts
Pelican is an amazing bird that can be found on all continents except on the Antarctica. There are eight species of pelicans. These birds are usually located in warm regions, near rivers, estuaries and lakes. Pelicans are threatened by water pollution, chemical pollution and major ecological catastrophes such as oil spills. Bycatch is another reason why number of pelicans is decreasing: while diving for fish, pelicans can end up in fishing nets. Brown Pelicans are on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Pelican Facts:
Pelicans are one of the largest birds. They can reach between 4 and 6 inches in length, and between 10 and 30 pounds of weight.
Pelican has the largest bill of all birds. It can reach 18 inches in length. Underneath the bill, pelicans have throat pouch that can hold 3 gallons of water.
Pouch is mainly used for feeding, but it can be also used as a cooling "device". During the warm days, pelican will swing its pouch to cool itself.
Pelican is easily recognized by its large body, short legs with webbed feet and a wingspan of 10 feet.
Pelicans are heavy birds, but thanks to air sacs in their bones - buoyancy is not a problem. They can fly to the height of 10 000 feet using the warm wind currents.
Webbed feet are used for swimming and diving. Pelicans will identify potential prey from the sky and catch it by accelerating toward it with great accuracy.
Pelicans eat fish mainly. Other than that, they can also eat turtles, crustaceans and tadpoles. Very hungry pelicans will even attack and eat seagulls.
Pelicans often hunt cooperatively. They will splash the surface of the water with their wings to force the fish toward the shallow water where they will scoop it easily with their bills.
Pelicans will take large amount of water together with fish. Before swallowing the fish, pelicans move heads forward to remove excess water. Pelicans can eat 4 pounds of fish per day.
Pelicans are very social birds. They live in large colonies composed of several hundreds of birds.
Certain species of pelicans can mate throughout the whole year, while others mate seasonally.
Males use different tactics to attract females during mating season. Some males have colorful feathers while others have ability to change the color of the pouch, neck and bill into bright colors during courtship.
Both males and females are in charge of the building of the nests that are usually located on the trees near the water. Nests are built using the feathers, leaves and sticks.
Females lay 1 to 3 eggs. Incubation period lasts between 28 and 36 days. Young pelicans eat by scooping the food from the bills of their parents.
Pelican can survive between 10 and 30 years in the wild.

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