1523. Pelecanus philippensis

1523. Pelecanus philippensis.

The Spotted-billed Pelican.

Pelecanus philippensis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, p. 571 (1788); Blyth J. A. S. B. xv. p. 374 ; id. Cat. p. 297; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 858: Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 180; Sclater, P. Z. S. 1868, p. 268: 1871, p. 633, figs. 2, 3; Hume, N. & E. p. 658; id. S. F. i, p. 288; ii p. 324; Butler & Hume, S. F. iv, p. 33; Oates, S. F. v, p. 169; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 495; Oates, S. F. vii, p. 41; Dav. & Wend. ibid. p. 93; Hume, Cat, no. 1004; Butler, S. F. ix,p. 442; Reid, S. F. x, p. 87; Oates, ibid. p. 247 ; Hume, ibid. pp. 499, 501 id. S. F. xi, p. 351 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 438. Pelecanus philippinensis, Walden, Tr. Z. S. ix, p. 246; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1198. Pelecanus manillensis, apud Oates, B. B ii, p. 236: id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 276; nec Gmel.

The Grey Pelican, Jerdon.

Coloration. In breeding-plumage (September to February) the greater part of the plumage is white ; the lower back, upper rump, flanks, vent-feathers, and lower tail-coverts vinaceous pink ; crown and neck-feathers short, curly, white, dark brown at the base; a slight crest and a ridge «or mane of longer brownish feathers down the back of the neck; scapulars, median and greater wing-coverts, and upper tail-coverts with black shafts ; lesser and median secondary-coverts elongate and pointed; primaries and primary-coverts blacker dark brown, terminal halves of secondaries blackish or brown ; tail light ashy brown.

Young birds and old birds from March to August have the head and neck white, with black bases to the feathers; back white ; rump, upper tail-coverts, and flanks white, with brown shaft-stripes ; wings and tail brown; lower plumage whity brown ; wing-coverts short, not lanceolate. Both breeding and non-breeding plumages are assumed by a moult. The full breeding-dress is not assumed till the fourth year; in the second and third years the assumption is only partial. Mr. Oates, who kept Pelicans for several years and studied the changes of plumage, has given a full account of them.

Bill pinkish yellow, the lateral portions of the upper mandible with large bluish-black spots ; the nail and terminal halves of both mandibles orange-yellow, the central portions of the sides of the lower mandible smeared with bluish black; pouch dull purple, blotched and spotted with bluish black ; eyelids and skin round the eye orange-yellow, skin in front of the eye livid; irides stone-white, varying to pale yellow clouded with brown; legs and feet very dark brown (Oates). Tail-feathers 22.

Length 57; tail 7.5; wing 22; tarsus 3.5; bill from gape 14. Females are a little smaller.

Distribution. Throughout the better-watered tracts of India, Ceylon, and Burma, and the whole Oriental Region.

Habits, &c. This is the only Pelican that has been observed to breed within Indian limits. Several breeding-places have been noticed in Ceylon, where the breeding-season is between December and March. Jerdon states that he visited one breeding-place in the Carnatic, but the birds were absent, and of late years no authentic account of Pelicans breeding in India has appeared. In Burma, however, Oates visited a forest near Shwe-gyen, on the Sittang, where this bird breeds in enormous numbers in November, making its nests of sticks on high trees, there being from three to fifteen nests in one tree. The area in which these birds breed is about 20 miles long by 5 broad. The eggs, three in number, are white and, chalky, always greatly soiled during incubation, and they measure about 3 by 2.15.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
1523. Pelecanus philippensis
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Spotted Billed Pelican
Spot-billed Pelican
Pelecanus philippensis
Vol. 4

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