Pink-backed pelican

Pink-backed Pelican

The pink-backed pelican is a small bird in pelican family. It is found in shallow lakes of southern Arabia, southern India. It is a relatively small pelican, although by no means is it a small bird. Its length is from 125 to 155 cm, wingspan is 2–2.9 m and body mass is from 4 to 7 kg. The bill is 30 to 38 cm in length. The plumage is grey and white, with a pinkish hue on the back occasionally apparent. The top of the bill is yellow and the pouch is usually greyish. Breeding adults have long feather plumes on the head.

The pink-backed pelican is found in a range of aquatic habitats, but prefers quiet backwaters with shallow water, avoiding steep, vegetated lake banks. It prefers for freshwater lakes, swamps, large slow-flowing rivers, and seasonal pools but also frequents reservoirs, seasonally flooded land and flood-plains near river mouths. It may occur on alkaline and saline lakes and lagoons, and can sometimes be found along the coast in bays and estuaries.

Food is usually fish and amphibians and is usually obtained by fishing in groups. Among the fish preyed upon are cichlids like Haplochromis and Tilapia.

The species tends to roost and breed in trees. Nesting trees have many nests built close together. These nests are re-used every year until the trees collapse, although the birds will normally remain in the area. The species nests colonially in trees, reeds or low bushes along waterfronts as well as (less often) on the ground on sandy islands and in mangroves. Its nest is a large heap of sticks and may be 10–50 m above the ground. The female lays two to three large white eggs and later the chicks feed by plunging their heads deep into the adult’s pouch and taking the partially digested regurgitated fish.

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