23 Interesting Facts About Pelicans

At first glance, pelicans seem to be very unusual birds. Their huge beak looks disproportionate in relation to body size, however, it is he who helps them successfully catch fish, which forms the basis of their diet. In many ways, pelicans are unique – they are the only ones in the world since there are no species related to them in nature.

  • Pelicans are large birds, their body length reaches 180 centimeters, and their body weight can be up to 14 kilograms.
  • The distant ancestors of pelicans weighing up to four tens of kilograms appeared on Earth 40-50 million years ago.
  • The crocheted beak of the pelican grows up to 47 centimeters in length. In its lower part, there is a leather fishing bag, which is highly stretchable.
  • Pelicans often “squeeze” their feathers with their beaks because they get wet quickly.
  • Most of the time, pelicans are silent, but during nesting, you can hear their dull roar.
  • Pelicans are forced to fish near the surface of the water because the light skeleton and air bubbles under the skin prevent them from diving. Some American species have learned to plunge into the water by falling into a body of water from great heights.
  • Grabbing the fish, the pelican strains up to 5 liters of water from the throat bag.
  • One pelican eats over a kilogram of fish a day. There are also known cases when they ate other birds.
  • Pelicans mate for only one season.
  • Pelican chicks are born blind and naked, the fluff covers their bodies only after 8-10 days, and they begin to fly on the 70-75 days after birth.
  • The mortality rate among newborn pelicans is very high – about half of the hatched chicks die. Birds die due to the fault of predators, due to unfavorable weather conditions, or simply from hunger.
  • The pelican is a sacred bird for Muslims, since, according to legend, this feathered giant carried stones in his throat bag for the construction of shrines in Mecca.
  • Some nations depicted Jesus Christ in iconography as a pelican.
  • In the heraldry of European countries, the pelican symbolized selfless parental love.
  • The pelican is the symbol of the Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University.
  • In Scandinavia, the pelican is the emblem of donation – thanks to the legend that these birds tear their breasts with their beaks and feed their chicks with their own blood.
  • The Albanian 1 lek coin depicts a pelican. These birds are also an alchemical symbol, due in part to the similarity of the shape of their beak to a retort.
  • The wingspan of a pelican is about three meters, they are able to lift these birds into the air to a height of 3 kilometers. High, of course, although the eagles fly three times as high.
  • Pelicans can hunt in groups, flapping their wings loudly and chasing fish into shallow water. Cormorants, gulls, and terns sometimes hunt with them.
  • Pelicans inhabit all continents of the globe, with the exception of Antarctica.
  • Pelicans have the most capacious beak in the world – it can hold up to 3 buckets of fish.
  • Pelicans are the heaviest of all flying birds, with the skeleton accounting for only a tenth of their total mass.
  • Pelicans have no nostrils – they inhale air through their beak.
Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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