Pelecanidae


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Pelecanidae

[‚pel·ə′kan·ə‚dē]
(vertebrate zoology)
The pelicans, a family of aquatic birds in the order Pelecaniformes.

Pelecanidae

 

(pelicans), a family of birds of the order Pelecaniformes. The body ranges in length from 130 to 180 cm. The bill has a large gular pouch. The wings are broad, the tail is short, and the feet are webbed. The plumage is gray, brown, or white with a pink tinge; the flight feathers are dark.

There is one genus of pelicans, embracing eight species, distributed in the temperate and tropical zones of all continents. Two species, the Old World white pelican (P. onocrotalus) and the Dalmatian pelican (P. crispus), are found in the USSR, in the Volga Delta, Ciscaucasia, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and southwestern Siberia. Pelicans inhabit seashores and large lakes. They fly well and are capable of soaring, but, because of their pneumatic skeleton, they are unable to submerge. Thus, the birds feed primarily on fish found in shallow water. Only the brown pelican (P. occidentalis) dives by falling from above. Pelicans live in colonies. They nest in reed thickets, on the ground, or in trees. A clutch contains one to four white eggs. Because they prey on fish, pelicans may cause losses to the fishing industry.

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Al igual que los Pelagornithidae, los Pelecanidae Rafinesque, 1815 son aves marinas con representantes actuales de amplias y largas alas, largos cuellos, grandes sacos gulares y patas cortas, con envergaduras variables entre los 1 y 1,6 m y pesos variables entre los 3 y 7 kg.
A diferencia de los relativamente abundantes registros fosiles de America del Norte, los registros de la familia Pelecanidae en America del Sur son muy raros y se limitan al hallazgo de un Pelecanidae indeterminado en la Formacion Pisco de edad Mioceno Medio-Plioceno Superior (152 Ma) (Stucchi & Urbina, 2005) y al registro de Pelecanus sp.
Los observadores fueron asignados aleatoriamente a dos puntos fijos de observacion; en cada sitio, estos equipos de observadores identificaron y cuantificaron los individuos migratorios de 34 especies de aves rapaces (familias Cathartidae, Accipitridae y Falconidae) y acuaticas (familias Pelecanidae, Phalacrocoracidae, Anhingidae, Ardeidae, Threskiornithidae y Ciconiidae, excluidas del presente analisis) que se registraron volando sobre el sitio, habitualmente siguiendo una trayectoria de norte a sur.