Pelicans
Pelicans
These enormous waterbirds are among the largest flying birds. Two types are found in East Africa, Great White Pelican and Pink backed Pelican. Pelicans have very long bills, with an upper mandible that is rigid and hooked at the tip; the flexible lower mandible contains a muscular extensible "pouch". Their necks and wings are long, with the head resting back on the neckin flight. Legs are placed far to the rear, making the bird awkward waddlers on land. Pelican's enormous webbed feet allow them swim well.

Pelicans skim fish from the water as they swim along, using the bill as a fish net. Many times groups of these pelicans will fish together, forming a V-shape in the water, herding schools of fish to shallow water where the pelicans can feed on the fish more easily. Pelicans tip their head forward to empty the water out of their pouch, then swallow and enjoy their fish meal.

The bill is not actually used to store food, as a crop would. It can be used as a temporary container for the fish, however most pelicans swallow the fish once the water is drained from the pouch

Young pelicans are born without feathers but soon grow a down coat. Parents swallow the fish before eating. To feed their young birds, they open their mouths wide so that the young reach way down their throats to their gullet (not the pouch) to get the food.

Pelicans habitats are both fresh water and salt lakes, rivers, dams and lagoons.

Source of information: Collins Guide to African Wildlife.



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