Pelicans are a genus of large water birds comprising the family Pelecanidae. They are characterized by a long beak and large throat pouch used in catching fish and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the Brown and Peruvian Pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean.
Males are generally larger than females and have longer bills. The smallest species is the Brown Pelican, some weighing about 6 pounds and 3.5 feet in length, with a wingspan of approximately 6 feet. The largest is believed to be the Dalmatian Pelican, weighing up to about 33 pounds and 6 feet in length, with a maximum wingspan of almost 10 feet.
Cormorants and Shags are medium-to-large seabirds. They range in size from the Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), measuring about 18 inches and weighing almost 12 ounces, to the Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi), at a maximum size of about 40 inches and weighing more than 10 pounds. The recently-extinct Spectacled Cormorant (Phalacrocorax perspicillatus) was even larger, at an average size of 14 pounds.
The majority, including nearly all Northern Hemisphere species, have mainly dark plumage, but some Southern Hemisphere species are black and white, and a few (e.g. the Spotted Shag of New Zealand) are quite colorful. Many species have areas of colored skin on the face, which can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow, typically becoming more brightly colored during the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes, as in their relatives.
Cormorants are coastal rather than oceanic birds, and some have colonised inland waters. All are fish-eaters, dining on small eels, fish, and even water snakes. They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet.
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Look Ma. No wings #Birds #RSPB #Audubon #NWF #NatGeoWild #BirdPhotography #Pelican #Wildlifehttps://t.co/PkehSX5ifG pic.twitter.com/QFyfInwBt0— Michael Daniel Ho (@MichaelDanielHo) March 1, 2016
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