Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that make up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone.
About Pelican in brief
Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that make up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped-up contents before swallowing. The bills, pouches, and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America and from polar regions and the open ocean. Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters, where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. The relationship between pelicans and people has often been contentious. Their populations have fallen through habitat destruction, disturbance, and environmental pollution, and three species are of conservation concern. They also have a long history of cultural significance in mythology, and in Christian and heraldic iconography. The name comes from the Ancient Greek word pelekan, which is itself derived from the word peLEkys meaning \”axe\”. In classical times, the word was applied to both the pelican and the woodpecker. The family was introduced by the French polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815. Pelicans give their name to the Pele caniformes, an order which has a varied taxonomic history.
Tropicbirds, darters, cormorants, gannets, boobies, and frigatebirds, all traditional members of the order, have since been reclassified: tropicbirds into their own order, Phaethontiformes and the remainder into the Suliformes. In their place, herons, ibises, spoonbills, the hamerkop, and the shoebill have now been transferred into the Pelecaniformes and are placed in the order Pelcaniforms. The living pelicans are divided into two groups, one containing four groundnesters with mainly white adult plumage, and one with four grey or brown-plumaged species which nest preferentially in trees or on sea rocks. The white pelicans form one lineage with the three New World species, while the brown and Peruvian species formed the two sister species with the two Old World species. Molecular evidence suggests that the Shoebill and the hasterkop form a sister group to the pelicans, though some doubt exists as to the exact relationships among the three lineages. P. crispusP. philippensisP. rufescensP. conspicillatus, onocrotalus, and P. Leptopelus Leptgenus are sometimes considered conspecific, but in fact they are sometimes separated by the others in the placement in the sub-genus of Suliformes in fact.