Saturday, June 11, 2011

Camera Critters: Pelicans

A group of Australian pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus), a medium-sized pelican - but it has the largest bill of all birds, the longest being almost 20 inches long. They are known to feed on almost anything that will fit into that beak: fish, insects, water fowl and I wouldn't stray too close if you own a small dog.
In German, they are called Brillenpelikan, spectacled pelican and you can see why.
A Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus), with 500.000 adult individuals left in the wild - the El Nino of 1998 caused a huge part of the population to perish. The species is recovering from this, but it is still listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and a similar event may have a disastrous effect.
They nest on the ground and will scoop up sand in the beak to make a nest. If the pelican are disturbed by humans while nesting, they may well abandon the nest, which makes it important to protect breeding sites from tourists and other people who would trouble the birds, either on purpose or by accident.

Photos were taken at Vogelpark Walsrode.

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