(2177) Pelecanus onocrocotalus roseus.
THE EASTERN WHITE or ROSY PELICAN.
Pelecanus roseus Gmelin, Syst. Nat., i, p. 570 (1789) (Manila) ; Blanford & Oate, iv, p. 333.
Vernacular names. Hind, same as the preceding bird ; Bellua, Borica or Bherua (Behar); Gara-polti or Gora-pallo (Beng.); Pian (Sind) ; Sckawhet (Burma).
Description. Differs from the preceding bird in having 22 tail-feathers instead of 24; it is slightly smaller; the difference between the sexes in size is even more marked and the frontal region is not so swollen.
Colours of soft parts as in the typical form.
Measurements. Wing, 680 to 720 mm., 600 to 653 mm.; tail 160 to 180 mm.; tarsus, 144 to 149 mm., 121 to 133 mm.; culmen, 390 to 425 mm., 313 to 365 mm.
Young birds are indistinguishable from those of the Western form.
Distribution. From Central Asia to the extreme East of Siberia and North China. Wintering in South China and the Philippines and the Indo-Chinese countries to Burma and India. The breeding colonies at Fao, and possibly in Mesopotamia, are those of this race. It is noticeable that Ticehurst records this race only as occurring in Sind, so that it must be the common form there, though typical onocrocotalus undoubtedly occurs also from time to time.
Nidification. So far as is known the nest and eggs and breeding-habits of these two races are the same but judging by the few eggs I have been able to measure, those of this race are much smaller. Fourteen eggs average 88.3 x 57.5 mm.: maxima 94.1 x 60.0 mm.; minima 83.1 X 58.0 and 89.0 x 55.0 mm. All the eggs taken by Cummings and later by Cox and Cheeseman were laid in the first three weeks of April.
Habits. Similar to those of the preceding bird. It occurs nowhere in the immense numbers that the Western bird does in some places, though Ticehurst records very large flocks in Sind. In this Province the local fishermen prize the oil obtained from the fat very highly and also eat the flesh. In Assam small flocks were not rare but often the birds were in pairs only, haunting the Brahmapootra and big rivers as well as swamps. In the rivers I have seen them hunting fish like Mergansers, forming a semicircle and driving the fish into shallows and backwaters, where they are easily caught. As a rule only the head and shoulders are thrust under water but occasionally the whole bird disappears. Although so ungainly on land and far from beautiful in the water, they present a fine sight when well on the wing.