American White Pelican, Part One

For a bird this large, it's probably best to stick with a miniature.

By: Tom Park
Photography by Tom Park

The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrohynchos) is one of the largest and most distinctive birds in North America. It has a wingspan of up to nine feet, second only to the California condor in North American species. Its plumage is white except for the black primaries and secondaries, but these are usually visible only in flight. The bill is large and flat on top with the distinctive pouch or throat sac below. In breeding season, the bill and bare skin patch around the eyes are a vivid orange. The fully-webbed feet are also orange. During breeding season there is a horn on the upper bill approximately 1/3 of the way up from the tip.

Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Fall 2013 issue.


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