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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Australian Pelican

The Australian Pelican or Goolayyalibee (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is an unmistakable large water bird. It is widespread on the inland and in coastal waters of Australia and New Guinea, also in Fiji, parts of Indonesia and as a vagrant to New Zealand.

Australian Pelicans is a medium-sized pelican that measures 1.6 to 1.8 meters in length and has a wingspan of 2.3 to 2.5 meters and weighing in at between 4 and almost 7 kilograms. This bird is mainly white, however it has black and white wings and a pale, pinkish bill which, like that of all pelicans, is enormous – especially in the male.

Australian Pelicans prefer large expanses of open water without too much aquatic vegetation. The surrounding environment is unimportant whether forest, grassland, desert, estuarine mudflats, an ornamental city park, or industrial wasteland. The one thing this voracious bird seeks out is open water able to support a sufficient supply of fish.

Australian Pelicans follow no particular schedule of regular movement. Instead they simply follow the availability of food supplies. When the normally barren Lake Eyre filled during 1974 to ’76, for example, only a handful of pelicans remained around the coastal cities: when the great inland lakes dried again, the population dispersed once more, flocks of thousands being seen on the northern coasts and some individuals reaching Christmas Island, Palau and New Zealand.

Australian Pelican