Welcome to the wonderful world of pelicans! These amazing birds are not just your ordinary feathered friends – they’re extraordinary! Pelicans are fascinating birds that live in many parts of the world.
They are known for their long, curved beaks and ability to dive into the water to catch fish. If you are a student who loves animals, you will be excited to learn about these unique creatures.
This article will explore some interesting pelican facts that amaze and delight you. Get ready to discover some fun and educational information with these pelican facts for kids!
What is a Pelican?
A pelican is a very large bird that lives near the water. It has a very big beak that it uses to catch fish to eat. They make up the species of birds in the Pelecanidae family.
Pelicans love spending time near the water, whether it’s the ocean, a lake, or a river, and they’re excellent divers, plunging into the water to catch fish with a splash!
What does a pelican look like?
A pelican is a large bird with a pouch that sits under its bill. Their bill/beak is super long and looks a bit like a scoop or a bucket. Imagine a big spoon, but even bigger! The top part of the beak is flat, and the bottom part is like a pocket, perfect for catching fish.
Pelicans have short but strong legs. Each foot has four webbed toes.
They are large birds. Some species can be up to 5.7 ft long with wingspans up to 10.5 ft and weigh 33 pounds!
What do Pelicans Eat?
Pelicans are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. A pelican’s diet mostly consists of fish. They have also been known to eat crustaceans, amphibians, turtles, small mammals, and even smaller birds.
Pelicans are water birds or sea birds. They live by rivers, lakes, ponds, lagoons, swamps, wetlands, and along the coastlines. Pelicans prefer a warm climate but are found living all over the world. They live on every continent except Antarctica.
Let’s take a closer look at a pelican’s habitat.
Beach: Pelicans often love living near the beach. Imagine soft sand, crashing waves, and sunny skies. They build their nests in colonies on cliffs or islands nearby.
Lakes: Some pelicans prefer to live near lakes. They find cozy spots to nest along the shores or on small islands in the lake.
River: Pelicans also enjoy living near rivers. Rivers are like busy highways for fish, making it a buffet for pelicans! They build nests in trees along the riverbanks.
Now, let’s imagine what their homes, or nests, look like:
Nests: Pelican nests are like comfy beds made of sticks, twigs, and leaves. Depending on the habitat, they’re usually on the ground or in trees.
Fishing Spots: Pelicans love being close to water because that’s where they find their favorite meal – fish! It’s like having a delicious restaurant right outside your home.
Pelicans are really interesting birds, especially when it comes to how they behave. Let’s discover what makes them special!
Fishing Fun: Imagine going to the beach with a big bucket to collect seashells. Pelicans have a super-sized “bucket,” too, It’s called their bill or beak! They use their huge beak to scoop up fish from the water. It’s like a built-in fishing tool!
Team Players: Pelicans are like the best teammates. They often form a line or a circle to work together when fishing. This teamwork helps them corral the fish, making it easier for everyone to catch their yummy meals.
Feathered Families: Pelicans love family time! They make nests together in groups called colonies. Moms and dads take turns caring for their eggs and chicks. It’s like a big pelican family party in the nest!
Water Diving Pros: Pelicans are incredible divers! They dive from the sky into the water to catch their fishy snacks. It’s like doing a cool dive into a pool but with more splashes!
Chatty Birds: Pelicans are not shy when it comes to chatting with their friends. They make funny sounds and gestures to talk to each other. It’s like having your own secret bird language!
Fancy Flight Shows: When pelicans fly, they’re graceful and impressive. They spread their wings wide and soar, showing off their flying skills. It’s like watching a fantastic bird ballet in the sky!
Types of Pelicans
There are eight main types of pelicans. Let’s learn about each type below.
The brown pelican is the smallest type of pelican. They are 4 ft-5 ft in length, have a wingspan of 6.5-7.5 ft, and weigh between 6-12 pounds.
Brown pelicans live along North America, South America, and the Caribbean coastlines.
The brown pelican is the state bird of Louisiana.
Brown Pelicans have a gray-brown body with yellow heads and a pale belly. They have skinny white necks with a long bill and a stretchy pouch under their bill. Brown Pelicans have short legs and short tails.
The Dalmatian Pelican is the largest of the pelican species. They are 5-5.9 ft long. Weigh between 33 pounds and have a wingspan of 8-10.5 ft.
Dalmatian Pelican live near Eastern Europe’s swamps, lakes, and lagoons to China.
Dalmatian Pelicans are silver-white in color with an orange-red rubbery pouch. Dalmatian pelicans have skinny necks with long bills. During the breeding season, their pouches fade to a yellowish color. Dalmatian Pelicans have short legs and short tails.
American White Pelican
American White Pelicans, also known as Rough-Billed Pelicans, are 4.3 ft – 5.9 ft long with a wingspan of 8 ft – 9 ft and weigh between 10 and 20 pounds.
They live in North and South America.
American White Pelicans have white feathers with black tips toward the bottom of their wings. They have a yellow-orange patch around their eyes. They have short legs and short tails.
The Australian Pelican is 5 ft 6 ft in length with a wingspan of 8 – 11 ft. They weigh between 8 – 18 pounds.
Australian Pelican lives in Australia, New Zealand, Figi, New Guinea, and Indonesia.
Australian Pelicans are mostly white-black at the tips of their wings. They have a pale pink bill and a grey streak down the back of their necks. They have blueish-grey legs and feet. Australian Pelicans have the longest bill of any species of pelicans. They have short tails and short legs.
Great White Pelican
Great White Pelicans are 4.5 ft – 5.7 ft long with a wingspan of 8 ft – 9 ft. They weigh between 22-24 pounds.
They live in swamps and lakes of Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia.
Great White Pelicans hunt together in groups. Great White Pelicans are aggressive birds. They will eat seagulls and other small birds if no regular food is available.
They hunt these animals by pulling their prey by their heads underwater until they drown; they will eat them.
Great White Pelicans are white in color with grey and black feathers. They have a pinkish-yellow patch around their eyes. Great White Pelicans have short tails with short pinkish legs.
Pink Back Pelicans
Pink Back Pelicans are 4.1 ft -4.3 ft long with a wingspan of 8.7 ft – 9.5 ft long and weigh between 8 -15 pounds.
Pink-backed Pelicans live in Africa and Southern Arabia.
Pink Backed Pelicans have grey-white feathers that cover their body and pink feathers down their backs. They also have a pale pink belly. They have short legs and short tails.
Spot-billed pelicans are also known as Grey or Philippine Pelicans.
They are 4 – 5 ft long with a wingspan of 8 ft. They weigh approximately 11 pounds.
Spot-billed pelicans are the most endangered species of pelican.
They live in the wetlands of Lake Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Thailand.
Spot-billed pelicans are white and grey with a short brown tail. Their pouch is pink-purple in color with large pale spots. They also have spots on their back and sides. Spot-billed Pelicans have short legs.
Peruvian Pelicans are 5 ft in length with an 8 ft wingspan. They weigh about 15 pounds.
Peruvian Pelicans live along the coast of South America from Ecuador to Peru.
Unlike other pelicans, the Peruvian Pelican is dark in color. They have orange bills with a white stripe that runs from the top to the bottom.
Both the male and female pelicans will help to make the nest. The male will go out to find sticks and grass and then bring it to the female, who will build the nest.
A mother pelican will lay two to three eggs. The eggs, which are blueish in color, will hatch in a little over a month. A baby chick will hatch in 29-35 days. Pelican chicks are born hairless; they have pink-colored skin. They are helpless and depend on their parents for survival.
Within 1-2 weeks, the baby chicks will start to crawl. In about 3 weeks, baby chicks are starting to walk and swim. At 9-10 weeks, the chicks will start to fly.
Is a Pelican a Good Pet?
Pelicans do not make good pets. They need to live where they have a large amount of space to fly. Pelicans alone need to hunt for fish. They would not enjoy living in a small space. Pelicans should live in the wild, where they are free to roam.
Pelicans are truly remarkable creatures with their giant beaks, excellent fishing skills, and cozy habitats by the water.
From their fun-loving teamwork to their incredible diving stunts, pelicans show us the magic of nature.
As you continue your adventure in the wild world, always keep your eyes open for these majestic birds and the fascinating wildlife around you. Just like pelicans, let’s spread our wings of curiosity and soar into the enchanting world of animals!