Spot-Billed Pelican

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 19, 2022, 7:22

Spot-Billed Pelican also referred to as the grey pelican, is a bird of the pelican family. Pelicans are primarily found in Southern Asia, including the Indian subcontinent. These birds prefer inland or coastal waters. However, grey pelicans can also be found in large lakes. It can be challenging to differentiate a Spot-Billed Pelican from other types of pelicans from a distance. However, when you move closer, you can find spots on the upper mandible of grey pelicans.

Spot-Billed Pelican Characteristics

Spot-Billed Pelicans have grey plumage, making them unique in the family of pelicans. In some locations, the habitats of Spot-Billed Pelicans are pretty close to human settlements. Apart from a brownish tail and grey crest, a Spot-Billed Pelican is mostly white. An average grey pelican can be around 125 cm high. The average weight of a grey pelican is between 4 kg and 6 kg. On the sides of the upper mandible of a grey pelican, one can find a pouch. The pouch of a grey pelican can have a pinkish or purplish shade. Read on to know more about a grey pelican and its habitat.

Spot-Billed Pelican Feeding Habits

  • Fish is the main food for grey pelicans.
  • Sometimes, grey pelicans also eat tiny birds and crustaceans.
  • Fishing in small groups, grey pelicans use their pouches to catch fish.

Spot-Billed Pelican Breeding

  • Most grey pelicans breed between October and May.
  • Grey pelicans during the Northeast monsoon in the southern region of India.

Habitat of a Spot-Billed Pelican

Some key points regarding the habitat of a grey pelican are as follows -

  • The usual breeding locations of grey pelicans are India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
  • During the winter season, grey pelicans can be found in Gangetic plains. They can also be found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Maldives during the winter season.
  • Grey pelicans cannot be called original migrators. They only make local movements, unlike other migratory birds. Grey pelicans can be more distributed during the non-breeding season.
  • Grey pelicans are usually found in lowland freshwaters. They are a colonial breeder and have nests on low trees near the wetlands. Sometimes, they can settle around wetlands near human settlements.
  • Over the years, many giant colonies of grey pelicans have been discovered around the globe.

☛ Also Read: Current Affairs Today

Grey pelicans were listed as ‘threatened’ in the year 2007 under the IUCN Red List. Human disturbance and loss of natural habitat have been a challenge for the Spot-Billed Pelicans. The population of grey pelicans has declined over the year in Southeast Asia. For example, there were abundant grey pelicans in the Philippines during the 1900s. However, they became almost extinct by the 1960s in the Philippines.

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Spot-Billed Pelican - Behaviour of Grey Pelicans

Some key points regarding the behaviour of grey pelicans are as follows -

  • Grey pelicans are usually silent birds. However, they can make hisses and grunts when in nests.
  • Grey pelicans visit the feeding areas in groups. A group of grey pelicans flies together by flapping their wings in the feeding area.
  • Sometimes, grey pelicans forage at night in groups.

The recent decline in the worldwide population of Spot-Billed Pelican has been a concern. Many initiatives have been taken around the world to preserve the Spot-Billed Pelicans.

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FAQs on the Spot-Billed Pelican

Q.1. What is the current conservation status of the Spot-Billed Pelican?

According to IUCN, the current conservation status of the Spot-Billed Pelican is ‘Near Threatened.

Q.2. State the scientific name of a Spot-Billed Pelican.

The scientific/binomial name of a Spot-Billed Pelican is Pelecanus philippensis.

Q.3. What’s the average height of a Spot-Billed Pelican?

An average Spot-Billed Pelican can have a height between 125 cm and 152 cm.

Q.4. When is the breeding season for Spot-Billed Pelican?

The breeding season for Spot-Billed Pelican can vary between October and May.

Q.5. When do the eggs laid by a Spot-Billed Pelican hatch?

The eggs of a Spot-Billed Pelican can take 30 - 33 days to hatch.