Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
- Pelecanus : Greek word pelekan, pelekanos – pelican.
- Onocrotalus : Latin word onocrotalus- pelican . Greek word onokrotalos – pelican
Vernacular Names: Sind: Pen, Hindi: Hawasil, Bi: Bellua, Birwa, Bherwa, Ben: Ganggoya, Gaganber, Garapolo, Gorapullo, Ass: Dhera, Bhela, Mani: Uphong, Guj: Gulabi pen, Kutch: Pen,Ori: Raja hansa, Ta: Koolakeda, Te: Chinkabatu, Mal: Kotumpannom, Sinh: Pas boruwa, Pasbara, Mar: Pandharazoliwala
Also known as Rosy Pelican
Distribution in India: Breeds in Gujarat and Winter Visitor in North India.
Description: Size of 140-180 cm. The adult plumage is mostly white except on remiges, with faint pink tinge especially on neck and some other parts. The base of foreneck becomes yellowish, bare parts brighter, forehead becomes swollen and nuchal feathers comprise full shaggy crest. The crown-feathers reach base of culmen in wedge-shaped arrangement, largely bare facial skin from base of bill including sides of forehead to around eye. The white feathers tinged buffy; primaries black with white shaft at bases, sometimes with paler tip and narrow fringe, secondaries black with whitish fringe, rest of feather becoming greyer towards inner ones, bastard wing and greater primary-coverts black, rest of upperwing-coverts and tertials are white. The underwing-coverts is white; tail is white. The iris is brown-red to dark brown; facial skin pinkish. In breeding season facial skin is often yolk-yellow to orange, sometimes pale bluish lemon. The bill is bluish grey, reddish on cutting edges of maxilla along most of its length, red bill tip, gular pouch cream-yellow to yolk-yellow and becomes brighter in pre-breeding, the greyish becoming bluer and gular pouch rich yellow. The legs dull flesh to pink in non- breeding season, in breeding they are yellow-flesh to pinkish orange. Sexes similar but female smaller and, in breeding condition, tends to have brighter orange facial skin.
Habitat:It is found in fresh or brackish water of lakes, deltas, lagoons and marshes, often requiring extensive reed beds for breeding. Generally found in lowlands, except in E Africa and has been recorded at 1372 m in Nepal.
Food habits: It eats fish about 1 to 1.5 kg . a day, The unfledged young eat many eggs and chicks of Cape Cormorant. It normally feeds in groups, often cooperatively, but solitary on occasions.
Breeding habits: They breed in spring in temperate zones, year-round in Africa, Feb/Apr in India. They are ground nesters, habitually in large colonies. The nest is a pile of reeds, sticks but sometimes nests directly on almost bare rocks. They lay a clutch of 1–3eggs. The incubation period is 29–36 days. The fledging period is 65–75 days.