- Pets and Animals
Australian pelican facts
Record braking pelicans
The Australian Pelican is a funny looking bird with its enormous light pink colored beak, and even by pelican standards it's the largest in the world. Apparently the biggest beak recorded was 49 cm (19.5) long - what a record! The Australian pelican is a fascinating bird; very eye catching with the big yellow markings around its eyes, and it looks like something which has come straight out of a cartoon! The Australian pelican can be found all over Australia in places with open water, so naturally not in the desert! It can also be found in some of the pacific islands close to Australia, as well as New Zealand and parts of Indonesia. There are 8 pelican species in the world and among them the Australian pelican proudly holds its record for being the biggest. Here's some fun facts about this amazing bird.
Big pelican Yawn
Interesting facts about the Australian pelican
The pelican is Australia's largest flying bird and its:
Wingspan is 2.5 - 3.4 meters
Weight is roughly between 5-8 kg
Color is white with black wingtips and black markings on their tail
Funny feat have 4 webbed toes that transforms into paddles when they swim
skeleton is very light, around 10% of their body weight
beak is 40-47 cm long
The female is slightly smaller than the male and they can usually live anywhere between 10-25 years. Some even longer.
Want to see the Australian pelicans? - Great travel books on Australia
Feeding & the amazing beak!
The Australian Pelican's incredible beak (or some people may call it bill) can hold between 9-13 liters of water when pouched. Pelicans usually fish together, and when working together as a team they manage to drive the fish into a central position, and then plunge their bills into the water and catch them. To avoid getting all the water into their stomach when fishing, they push their bill again the chest and squeeze out the water, so it's only the fish which remain in their beak. To make the fish go down correctly - longways and not sideways, they rotate it in their bill so they don't choke, and with one quick nod of their head they swallow the whole fish.
Pelican's are very easy to tempt with fish, and they often accept handouts from fishermen or even steal them! There are many places around Australia where they do pelican feeding in the afternoon, and it's always a great show to watch. Here's a picture from one at 'the Entrance" just north of Sydney.
Apart from fish what else does the Australian pelican eat?
Australian pelicans are huge eaters, consuming up to 9 kgs of food per day equivalent to their entire body weight! In addition to fish they also feed on tadpoles, crustaceans, turtles, duckling and even sea gulls.
The weight is no issue to them, and as graceful as they look when flying they are able to cover hundreds of kilometers at a stretch, and stay in the air for up to 24 hours.