Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Breeding Behaviour and Ecology of the Australian Pelican, Pelecanus Conspicillatus, in New South Wales.

WJM Vestjens

Australian Wildlife Research 4(1) 37 - 58
Published: 1977


Australian pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) were studied in colonies at 2 lakes in New South Wales. Adults regurgitated food for the young. Those up to 2 weeks old took liquid food from inside the tip of the adult's upper beak. Older ones took solid food from the adult's gullet, to age of about 3.5 months. After being fed, the young had convulsions lasting about 1 min; that did not happen after a second feeding immediately after the convulsion. Where there were 2 young of different sizes, only the larger convulsed, and sometimes the smaller was prevented from feeding and died of starvation. The survivor continued to have convulsions after feeding, as did single young, when there was no competition for food. Food was mainly fish; the most abundant fish was goldfish (Carassius auratus); a minor item was perch (Perca fluviatilis). Fish were 60 to 247 mm long and weighed 17 to 320 g. Crustaceans were less important and included freshwater crayfish (Cherax destructor) and shrimp (Macrobrachius sp.).


© CSIRO 1977

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