Pelican | Facts & Information

# Pelican | Facts & Information

Pelican | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Pelican

Pelicans, these archaic birds left over from the tertiary era, have greatly diminished their herds in recent decades. Their nesting sites were gradually reduced as a result of the penetration of the anthropic factor, so that Pelicans completely disappeared from Western and Central Europe.

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Although Pelicans have previously nestled in the fifteenth century in Denmark, they then retreated more and more from civilzatia, the interior of the Carpathian arc becoming the westernmost area of their nesting area.

In the last century, they were also common in Transylvania, and at present, their last refuge remained only the eastern part of the continent, especially the Danube Delta.

In Romania, at the end of the last century and the beginning of this century, both species of pelicans – the common Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) and the curly Pelecanus (Pelecanus crispus) -were still common, not only in the Danube Delta, but also throughout Dobrogea.

Visitors of the Danube Delta from those times told about the existence of so many nests that their accounts seem incredible. After his trip in 1869, Austrian E. Hodek notes: "according to my approximate calculations between Cernavoda and the Black Sea nest so many Pelicans that their number exceeds any human imagination!

In this area live several million birds!”. In 1874, the Sintenis brothers discovered the wonderful Colony on the Nesteda Lake.

In the following decades, the number of pelicans decreased frighteningly, due to fishermen, who, concerned for their catches, blamed these "harmful" birds, setting fire, for years, to all the colonies encountered.

From this massacre, the Hunters also had their share, being rewarded, for each Pelican leg, with a cartridge. One of those who took part in such a campaign is still alive today. "We took eight hunters with three boats to the colony, because they promised us drink""-says the old man.

"The massacre lasted six hours, and the prey consisted of about 260 feet of pelican chicks. The hunters would have wanted to take more legs, but because they were in a great hurry, they did not even kill the Cubs anymore, but simply cut off their legs, leaving them there to die in terrible torments...”.

Currently, Pelicans are strictly protected throughout Europe. In Romania, since 1955, pelican species have been declared natural monuments, and colonies are also protected.

Pelican Food

The large, relatively light body of pelicans does not allow them to dive for their food, they fish only at the depth they reach with their beak and neck extended. Gregarious species fish in groups, starting from a row, which gathers in a circle , and, flapping their wings, crowds the fish.

Pelicans fishing and spinning their heads in a semicircle with their beak open. If a fish reaches its beak and touches the sensitive membrane inside the guttural sac, the beak closes reflexively. The 20-22 l water contained in the bag is removed by shaking the head, and the fish takes the long way to the esophagus, to the stomach.

The chicks are also fed with fish, first semi-digested, then whole, which they eat from their parents ' pouch.

All eight species of Pelicans on Earth are almost exclusively ichthyophages. About the amount of daily food needed by Pelicans, a lot of erroneous information circulates, the ignorant sometimes talk about rations up to 20 kg! The actual quantity, established after research, is 20-30 kg.

The Pelican usually feeds in small, decreasing waters, where fish are crowded, catching more easily sick specimens of different epizoti. By removing sick fish, it prevents the occurrence of mass mortality and decomposition of corpses, helping to prevent disease. In this sense, exercising natural selection, Pelicans are also the sanitarians of the balaii.

Features Pelican

Due to the protection measures, at present, on the territory of the Danube Delta nest over 2500 pairs of common Pelicans and about 100 pairs of curly Pelicans. Today, it is home to the largest population of common Pelicans in Europe .

As seen, most Delta Pelicans are common Pelicans. Adults of this species have a white-pink color, and during the nuptial period, both sexes possess a ruff and the forehead shows a noticeable outgrowth.

Remiges – long wing feathers-are black, like in storks. The guttural sac, the Pelicans ' basic fishing tool, is yellowish, like a portion of plumage on the bird's breast.

The curly Pelican, less numerous, but spread over a larger area in South-Eastern Europe, is even larger than the previous species, both species are among the largest birds, with a wingspan of over 2 m.

Its colour is off-white to plumber, the remiges are black only towards the bottom, and the guttural sac of the adults, during reproduction, is an obvious red. The chicks of the common Pelican are covered at first by a black fluff, gradually changed by brown feathers, which will be replaced by white-pink plumage only after the first complete moulting, in wintering places.

The Cubs of the curly Pelican are plumbers.

Pelican Breeding

Both species of pelicans nest in colonies. The common one lays its eggs on plauri (floating islands of reeds), and the curly Pelican builds nests, 1 m high and 1.5 m wide, from aquatic vegetation.

Due to acid excrement and trampling by these heavy birds, of 10-12 kg, plaurii decompose in a few years, Pelicans having to change the place of their colony.

For example, according to the information received by the researcher Kiss J. Botond, the massive colony of common Pelicans in the Hrecisca-Buhaiova protected area has changed its place three times in the last three decades.

Colonies of crested Pelicans are smaller, usually nesting with other aquatic species.

The female lays 1-5 long, dirty-white eggs, which both parents Hatch for about a month, the chicks being cared for within the colony for about two months. The researchers argue about the number of eggs and the duration of hatching, due to the proximity of the nests within the colony, which can easily cause the tips to mix.

Unfortunately, these monuments of nature are, even in the conditions of the existence of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, subjected to pressure by the human factor. Fishermen persecute them, some alleged hunters shoot them from the chase of boats equipped with fast engines.

But we must know that Pelicans are protected not only by the hunting law, but are also under the protection of the Berne Convention on the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.

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