All about the family Pelecanidae, the pelicans. Learn how they feed, breed, and more!

November 19, 2020

Listen to the Episode



Pelicans are large, peculiar waterbirds with a unique way of feeding. Using their long bills and throat pouches, they scoop up fish and other prey from water. Some pelican species plunge dive from the air, others work in cooperative groups to improve their chances of fishing success.

In this episode, we focus on the family Pelecanidae. We go through the characteristics of pelicans, with a focus on their bill and throat pouch.

We also discuss the feeding strategies of pelicans, how they breed, and their evolution.

Finally, we touch on some issues about the conservation of pelicans.

Along the way, we’ll do some myth-busting. There are several misconceptions about pelicans that we need to address.

Links of Interest

Research Citations

Photos of some birds mentioned

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). Photo by Ivan Phillipsen
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus). Photo by Geoff Penaluna.
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). Photo by Ivan Phillipsen.
Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus). Public domain photo.

This work by Ivan Phillipsen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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