A Plethora of Pelicans
Jurong Bird Park (1)
I have decided as we took so many photos of this day that the easiest way would be to break the information down into different posts, this being post 1, rather than have one post with so many photos that it was unlikely anyone viewing it would ever get to the end! so forgive me splitting the day.
I have titled this post "A Plethora of Pelicans" but in fact the correct name for a group of these birds is "a squadron" however I liked the ring of a plethora of pelicans and plethora does mean a large amount of something, so I shall stick to my choice :)
The Bird Park houses Pelican Cove containing 7 of the 8 species of pelican and is the worlds largest collection of pelican species. There is a walkway around part of the cove where you can get really close to the birds as you will see from some of the photos. There is also an underwater viewing gallery where at feeding time you can watch them dive down to catch the fish seeing them scoop them up into their pouches. Staff at this time will also explain about the different species and pass on some information. The Bird Park has among its collection the Dalmation Pelican (pelican crispus) which is on the endangered list.
The smallest pelican species in the Brown Pelican (pelican occidentals) weighing just 2.5kg, 106 cm long and a wingspan of 1.83 metres. The endangered Dalmation Pelican (pelican crispus) is the largest of the species weighing 15kg, 183 cm long with a wingspan of 3 metres. My favourite of them all however is the brightly coloured Australian Pelican (pelican conspicillatus) which has the longest bill of them all and a latin name which they certainly live up to as they are indeed conspicuous! An Australian Pelicans bill is upto 50 cm in length. We stood watching them wave their pouches and it really looked as if they were talking to each other.
|Australian Pelicans have a good old chatter|
As I mentioned the Australian Pelican was my favourite as it is so vibrant in colour compared to the others. At the Park they also had a lake to themselves whereas the other species are in another lake together. When "courting" the males follow the female around showing off (as all men do!!) they pick up sticks/fish and toss them up into the air before catching them and repeating again and again. They open their bills and ripple their pouches. By shutting their bills together quickly and often, this causes the lower bill/pouch to ripple and it's really fascinating watching them do this. I don't know if it was the mating season when we visited but they were certainly chasing one another around the pond and rippling their pouches an awful lot. During mating the colour of the bill also changes for a brief time, the end becomes a bright salmon pink and near to the throat it turns hello. A black line appears diagonally along the bill and some parts change to a bright blue.
Australian Pelican (pelican conspicillatus)
I have to admit I don't think I have ever seen a pelican before visiting the park and I'm sure I would of remembered. They are indeed beautiful graceful birds and when up close look almost unreal. The Australian Pelicans look like they have been painted. I hope the photos do them justice.