The Ultimate Pelican Bill vs. Belly Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The pelican is an awkward looking bird with an incredibly long bill and a pouch. Take this quiz to find our more about that curious pouch and how it's used.

What is the most distinctive feature of the pelican?

This is the bag of skin stretching from the lower half of its jaw to its neck, called a gular pouch.


How many species of pelicans are there?

Scientists say that there are seven or eight species. Some want to classify the Peruvian pelican as a sub-species of the brown pelican.


How much can a large pelican weigh?

Their weight can reach 30 pounds (13.61 kilograms).


On which continent do pelicans not live?

They live everywhere except Antarctica.


Why is the brown pelican unusual?

It is the only species to feed by plunge diving or diving headfirst into the water.


How do most other pelicans hunt fish?

Working together, they herd fish into shallow water then duck down and scoop them up.


What distinguishes pelicans from other species of bird?

They have four webbed toes.


What is another distinctive feature?

They breath through their mouths instead of nostrils.


What is the hook at the end of the upper mandible (jaw) used for?

It helps grab onto slippery fish.


After scooping up fish, what does the pelican have to do before eating?

It opens its bill and contracts its pouch to empty out the water. It can't eat or fly with a pouch full of water.


What does a pelican do with a particularly large fish?

The fish is maneuvered so that it goes down the throat head first, keeping it from getting stuck.


Which pelican has the largest bill?

The Australian pelican has a bill up to one and a half feet (half a meter) long.


Which has a greater capacity, the pouch or stomach?

The pouch can hold about three times the capacity of the stomach.


What is the capacity of the pouch?

It is about 3 gallons (11.36 liters).


Do pelicans eat anything besides fish?

While they sometimes feed on other water creatures like frogs and crabs, pelicans have been observed eating smaller birds.


What caused some species of pelicans in the U.S. to dwindle?

The pesticide DDT had made the eggs' shells too fragile to survive.


How does a pelican become a victim of piracy?

Since it takes a few seconds to empty the water from its pouch, a gull could dart into the pouch and steal a fish.


What do pelicans do during courtship?

The males often stretch out and flap their pouches and clap their bills repeatedly.


Where does the pelican store excess food?

Excess food is stored in the pelican's esophagus.


How do pelicans feed baby chicks?

They regurgitate partially digested fish for the chicks.


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