Happy Fish Fry Friday 🐠 and happy Pelican Friday too!! A rarity for me to combine the two 🐦🐠
🐧 The brown pelican
dives on fish (usually a type of herring called menhaden) from above and snares them in its bill. Pelicans do not store fish in their pouch, but simply use it to catch them and then tip it back to drain out water and swallow the fish immediately.
🐧 It's a good thing pelicans are successful fishers, because they are among the largest of all birds. An adult pelican may eat up to 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) of fish per day!
🐧 THE PELICAN FAMILY IS AT LEAST 30 MILLION YEARS OLD.
The earliest pelican fossil on record is a 30-million-year-old skull that was found in the Oligocene deposits of France. Paleontologists have also uncovered younger material from places like Germany, India, Kenya, Peru, Australia, and North Carolina. Today, there are eight living species and you can find some combination of them dwelling on every continent except Antarctica.
🐧 pelicans use their gular pouches as a means of capturing food—not as a place to keep it tucked away for extended periods. The highly-flexible sacs can expand or contract, and the lower jaw bones they’re connected to are capable of bowing outwards, which enables the birds to use their sacs as fishing nets. Once a pelican captures its prey, the bird drains any water it may have accidentally captured with it by tilting its head and contracting those pouch muscles. (Fun fact: Some species can hold three gallons’ worth of liquid in their gular sacs.) Usually, the prey is swallowed immediately after the water purge.