Miniature Pelican is 6cm high
The Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus is found throughout Australia it is widespread on freshwater, estuarine and marine wetlands and waterways including lakes, swamps, rivers, coastal islands and shores. Australian Pelicans are huge black and white birds that live in areas with water all over Australia. They have very long pale pink beaks that have a small hook on the end and a stretching pouch underneath. When their wings are outstretched they measure over 2 m across. They have feet with four fully webbed toes.
Australian Pelicans swim around searching for fish, yabbies and crabs to eat during the day. They sometimes swim in a group and drive fish into shallow areas. They trap the fish in their pouched beak and swallow them whole. They call with pig-like grunting sounds.
Australian Pelicans make loose nests on the ground from sticks and plant stems. Females lay two to four large white eggs. Both parents take turns to sit on the eggs (incubate) for 32 to 35 days. When the eggs hatch the chicks are helpless and without feathers. Both parents feed the chicks until they have feathers and are ready to fly in about 14 weeks.
Pelicans fly efficiently although the take-off is rather clumsy. They hold their heads back in flight and soar in thermal air currents to a height of 300m above sea level.
Fossil remains indicate the pelican has lived in Australia for 30 to 40 million years.