Pelecanus crispus

Pelecanus crispus, Bouch.

1004bis. :- Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 328.


Length, 70 to 74.5 ; expanse, 114 to 122; wing, 26.25 to 29.28; tail, 9.5 to 10 ; bill at front, 15.4 to 16.6. Length, 66 to 68; wing, 25 to 28.

In the adult in spring plumage, excepting the quills, primary coverts and winglet, the whole plumage is white, with more or less of a pearly-grey tinge on both the upper and under surfaces according to the light in which it is looked at; there is a broad band at the base of the neck in front and at the sides, faintly tinged with very pale straw color; there is not the faintest tinge of rosy anywhere; the whole of the feathers of the head and neck are very narrow, long, soft, and silky, much curled, and twisted on the head, especially behind and just above the eye ; and the feathers of the back of the head are much elongated, so as to form a dense, full crest, some 4.25 inches long; a line of feathers, about 1.5 inches wide, down the whole back of the neck, is of a more snowy and less pearly-white than the rest of the neck ; the scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts and median and greater wing-coverts are conspicuously black shafted, and all these, except the longest of the scapulars, are very long and lanceolate. A few of the longest scapulars are broad and round or mucronate at the end; back, scapulars and tail with a beautiful satiny gloss ; the two exterior tail feathers with nearly the whole shafts black, and generally with a decided grey tinge on the outer web to near the tip ; the rest of the tail feathers with only the terminal third of the shafts black; primaries (all of which are white at the base) and their coverts and winglet very dark brown, almost black; the second to the fifth primary emarginate on the outer web and silvered with grey on the last above the emargination, which in the second is hidden by the coverts; there is more or less silvery or grey on the outer webs of all the other primaries, their coverts and winglets; the first five primaries are faintly notched on the inner web, and more pale or greyish-white on the latter above the notches, while the rest of the primaries have the inner portions of the inner webs white; this is still more conspicuous in the secondaries, most of which have their whole outer webs a silver-grey ; the tertials are pure white; the feathers of the base of the neck and breast thickly set, very narrow and pointed, the filaments along the margin a good deal separated.

The young bird wants the linear lanceolate feathers. It has the whole head, neck, and upper and lower surface white ;. the back of the neck more or less shaded with grey; tips of the quills and a row of small coverts near the margin of the wing pale wood-brown ; the feathers of the head shorter and more fur-like than in the adult; crest small; scapulars and shoulder feathers broadly tipped with pale brown, with dark shafts; tail feathers white at the base on both webs ; greater part of the rest of the inner web white ; primaries and secondaries white at their bases ; a large portion of their inner webs white; the rest a darkish brown.

Adult: irides white, in the young pale yellow; legs and feet pale plumbeous; edges of upper and lower mandibles for the terminal two-thirds yellowish, and in the young a horny white-brown, or yellowish-grey; the nail orange or pale orange.

In the breeding plumage the pouch is a deep orange-red, with a black patch on either side, just at the base of the lower mandible ; in the non-breeding plumage a dirty primrose, or pale fleshy, tinged with lemon-yellow.

The White Pelican occurs on the river Indus in Sind.

Handbook to the Birds of the Bombay Presidency
Barnes, Henry Edwin. Handbook to the birds of the Bombay Presidency, 1885.
Title in Book: 
Pelecanus crispus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Barnes, H. Edwin
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Pelican
Dalmatian Pelican
Pelecanus crispus
Term name: 

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith