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Photo Credit: Elaine De Klerk
Pelicans are large water birds in the family Pelecanidae. They are characterized by a long beak and large throat pouch, used in catching, and draining water from, their prey. Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish. Gregarious birds, they breed colonially and often hunt cooperatively. They have a long history of cultural significance in mythology, heraldry and Christian iconography.
The Great White Pelican (pictured here) breeds from southeastern Europe through Asia, and in Africa in swamps and shallow lakes. It is the second largest pelican species behind the Dalmatian Pelican. Males are larger than females, and have a long beak that grows in a downwards arc, as opposed to the shorter, straighter beak of the female. Immature birds are grey and have dark flight feathers. In flight, it is an elegant soaring bird, with the head held close to and aligned with the body by a downward bend in the neck.
The Great White Pelican is well adapted for aquatic life. The short strong legs and webbed feet propel it in water and aid the rather awkward takeoff from the water surface. Once aloft, the long-winged pelicans are powerful fliers, however, and often travel in spectacular V-formation groups. The pelican’s pouch is simply a scoop. As the pelican pushes its bill underwater, the lower bill bows out, creating a large pouch which fills with water and fish. As the bird lifts its head, the pouch contracts, forcing out the water but retaining the fish. A group of great white pelicans will gather in a horseshoe formation in the water to feed together. They dip their bills in unison, creating a circle of open pouches, ready to trap every fish in the area.
To share your wildlife photos with the Bush Warriors community, go to our Photo of the Day Contest Facebook page and upload your shots today! All you need to do is upload them onto the wall. Please do not create new albums, but rather upload each photo on its own. Click here to view ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest. Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!
The Bush Warriors Photo of The Day Contest is brought to you in partnership with Creative Visions Foundation. Inspired by the life of Dan Eldon, a young Reuters photojournalist killed in Somalia in 1993, Creative Visions Foundation supports “Creative Activists” who use media and the arts to create positive change in the world.
Vote for your favorite photo each week. The Bush Warriors Photo of The Week winner will go on to compete for the Bush Warriors Photo of the Month, and a chance to win a signed copy of Dan Eldon: Safari As a Way of Life of life.