The Ultimate Pelican Bill vs. Belly Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
The Ultimate Pelican Bill vs. Belly Quiz
Image: iStockphoto.com/DON TREADWELL

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

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How many species of pelicans are there?
seven or eight
Scientists say that there are seven or eight species. Some want to classify the Peruvian pelican as a sub-species of the brown pelican.
10 or 11
12 to 14

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How much can a large pelican weigh?
10 pounds (4.55 kilograms)
20 pounds (9 kilograms)
30 pounds (13.61 kilograms)
Their weight can reach 30 pounds (13.61 kilograms).

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On which continent do pelicans not live?
Asia
Antarctica
They live everywhere except Antarctica.
Australia

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Why is the brown pelican unusual?
dive headfirst into the water to feed
It is the only species to feed by plunge diving or diving headfirst into the water.
swoop down and snatch fish with their claws
stand on one leg

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How do most other pelicans hunt fish?
by chasing the fish until they are tired
by grabbing them with their claws
by herding them into shallow water and scooping them up
Working together, they herd fish into shallow water then duck down and scoop them up.

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What distinguishes pelicans from other species of bird?
six toes
four webbed toes
They have four webbed toes.
two large webbed toes

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What is another distinctive feature?
breath through their mouths
They breath through their mouths instead of nostrils.
270 degree field of vision
teeth in upper jaw

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What is the hook at the end of the upper mandible (jaw) used for?
feeding its young
essential part of courting
grabbing slippery fish
It helps grab onto slippery fish.

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After scooping up fish, what does the pelican have to do before eating?
kills the fish
empties water from pouch
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.
creates vacuum in pouch to avoid swallowing air

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What does a pelican do with a particularly large fish?
maneuvers fish to go down head first
The fish is maneuvered so that it goes down the throat head first, keeping it from getting stuck.
splits fish in half with its hook
squeezes fish until its bones break then swallows it

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Which pelican has the largest bill?
Dalmatian pelican
Australian pelican
Texas blue-breast pelican
The Australian pelican has a bill up to one and a half feet (half a meter) long.

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Which has a greater capacity, the pouch or stomach?
stomach
pouch
The pouch can hold about three times the capacity of the stomach.
about the same

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What is the capacity of the pouch?
1 gallon (3.78 liters)
2 gallons (7.56 liters)
3 gallons (11.36 liters)
It is about 3 gallons (11.36 liters).

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Do pelicans eat anything besides fish?
mostly fish and other water creatures
While they sometimes feed on other water creatures like frogs and crabs, pelicans have been observed eating smaller birds.
eat anything they find
only fish

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What caused some species of pelicans in the U.S. to dwindle?
polluted drinking water
pesticides harmed the eggs
The pesticide DDT had made the eggs' shells too fragile to survive.
too much hunting

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How does a pelican become a victim of piracy?
The pelican with a pouch full of water and fish can be knocked off balance and have the fish snatched.
A bird can peck the pelican on the head and grab a fish when the pelican protests.
During the process of emptying water from the pouch, the bill is open.
Since it takes a few seconds to empty the water from its pouch, a gull could dart into the pouch and steal a fish.

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What do pelicans do during courtship?
The males bring offerings of fish.
Males flap their pouches and clap their bills.
The males often stretch out and flap their pouches and clap their bills repeatedly.
Females and males rub pouches together.

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Where does the pelican store excess food?
stomach
recess in the pouch
esophagus
Excess food is stored in the pelican's esophagus.

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How do pelicans feed baby chicks?
cut up fish with their hooks
regurgitate partially digested fish
They regurgitate partially digested fish for the chicks.
seek out small fish

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You Got:
/20
iStockphoto.com/DON TREADWELL
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