Today on Light Future Art, we’re going to discuss some fun facts about pelicans, a unique bird well-known for their pouches.
1. There are many names that a group of pelicans may have. Some of them include: pod, squadron, brief, or scoop. When flying, a pod arranges itself in a line, and when swimming together, they form a U shape to corral fish. However, they don’t only eat fish. A pelican’s diet also includes crabs and small reptiles, from time to time.
2. A pelican can hold as much as 3 gallons of water in their pouch. They scoop up their prey with seawater and tip their head back and forth from side to side to slosh out the water so they can swallow only the fish.
3. Both the mother and father pelican share in the work of building their nest and incubating the eggs. The male selects the site and building material, and the female does most of the actual building.
4. There are 8 species of pelicans that live on all continents aside from Antarctica. They inhabit coastal areas in tropical and temperate zones.
5. Dalmatian pelicans are the largest species. They have a wingspan of 12 feet as adults. The most common pelican, the Brown pelican, has a wingspan of around 7 feet. On average, pelicans weigh between 10 and 30 pounds.
6. During the mating season, pelicans nest in colonies. They choose the locations of their nests in trees or on rocky outcroppings. Pelican nesting colonies often are hundreds of birds in size and settle on one small island.
7. Pelicans are monogamous in the context of nesting. The mother and father stay together on the nesting island but don’t travel together or pair bond in any way outside of parenting.
8. Pelican chicks hatch in the order in which they were laid. The first hatched chick is always the biggest and is the strongest contender in fights over food. The parent pelican feeds their chicks by allowing them to reach down into their pouch, rather than regurgitating like other birds.
9. Unusually for birds, pelicans are not actually mature until they are several years old. They begin to hunt on their own after the first few months but stick around their parents for much longer.
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