Upper mandible depressed, narrower and higher at the base, broader and flattened towards the end, composed of a median bar, convex externally, continuing the whole length of the bill, and terminating in a strongly hooked nail, and of two lateral portions, each separated from the median bar by a very narrow but distinct groove, in the basal part of which the small nostril opens. Lower mandible thin, of two flexible arches supporting a large pouch of naked membrane. Sides of head, including the eyes, without feathers. Wings ample; tail short; tarsus compressed, reticulate in front.

Pelicans are found in all the warmer regions of the world. Pour species occur in India.

Key to the Species.

a. Feathers of forehead terminate in a point.
a1. Tail-feathers 22 : bill from gape in female 10-12, in male 14-16 in…………………………P. roseus, p. 333.
b1. Tail-feathers 24: bill in both sexes 17-18 in…………………………P. onocrotalus, p. 334.
b. Feathers of forehead end in front in a transverse concave line; 22 rectrices.
c1. Wing 26-20; bill from pape 14-18 in…………………………P. crispus, p. 335.
d1. Wing 22-24; bill 13-14 in…………………………P. philippensis, p. 335.

The habits of all Pelicans, so far as is known, are similar. These birds are found on marshes, rivers, backwaters, or the sea, sometimes singly or in small numbers, but often in large flocks. They fly well, with the neck bent and the head close to the shoulders, and often ascend to great heights in the air. They walk badly, and are seldom seen on land; they swim well and strongly, but they never dive. They live on fish, and when in flocks often capture their prey by forming in single, double, or even triple Hues across a piece of water, and driving the fish before them by beating the water with their wings. When the fish are driven into shallow water, the Pelicans scoop them up into their pouches.

The following are some of the Indian names for Pelicans :— Hawasil, Gugun bher, Gang goya, Penr, Jalasind, H.; Bellua, Birua or Bherua, Behar; Gara-polo or Gora-pallo, Beng.; Chinka-batu, Tel.; Madde-pora, Tam.; Kulukedai, Ceylonese Tamils ; Kula Kidar, Singh. Sekhawet (P. roseus), Woon-boh (P. philippensis), Burm.

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: 
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Vol. 4
Term name: 

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