Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that make up the family Pelecanidae. They have distinctive long beaks, heavy bodies, webbed feet and a large featherless throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped-up contents before swallowing. There are eight living species of Pelicans globally.
Pelicans are known to frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed on fish that they catch at water surface. They use their small short, strong legs and their webbed feet to swim. The have a rather short and square tail, with 20 to 24 feathers. Pelican wings are long and broad, well suited for flight, with an unusually large number of 30 to 35 secondary flight feathers.
Surprisingly, Pelicans are light even though they are among the heaviest flying birds, this is due to the air pockets in their skeleton and beneath their skin which allows them to float high in the water. The air sacs which are connected to their airways keeps them afloat in the water.
Pelicans are known to inhabit warm regions and they are reportedly found on all continents except Antarctica. They are described as birds of inland and coastal waters and as such are absent from Polar Regions, deep oceans and oceanic islands.
Pelicans are social animals who nest colonially. They bond over their nests, but are independent away from the nests. In all pelican species, both sexes incubate with the eggs on top or below the feet. Pelican eggs are usually white, oval and coarsely textured.
The main danger to pelicans is declining supplies of fish, water pollution, destruction of habitat, human disturbance of nesting colonies, and other human activities.