Why In News?
Over 150 spot- billed pelicans died after a nematode (parasite) infestation at Telineelapuram Important Bird Area (IBA) in Naupada swamp of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh (AP).
- Scientific Name- Pelecanus philippensis
- IUCN Status- Near Threatened
- It mainly breeds in southern Asia from southern Iran across India, east to Indonesia.
- The Telineelapuram IBA is the prime location for the spot- billed pelicans for winter breeding.
In this article we will learn about some interesting facts about the Spot-Billed- Pelicans. This topic comes under GS- 3 paper, under the topic Environment and Ecology of the IAS exam. This becomes important from the prelims point of view.
Characteristics of Spot-Billed Pelican
- The spot-billed pelican, also called grey pelican, is a member of the pelican family.
- It is a bird of large inland and coastal waters, especially large lakes.
- It is relatively a small pelican but still a large bird, about 125–152 cm (49–60 in) long.
- It weighs around 4.1–6 kg.
- It is mainly white in colour, with a grey crest, hindneck and a brownish tail.
- The feathers on the hind neck are curly and form a greyish nape crest.
- These birds are very silent although sometimes they make hissing noises in their nests.
Feeding habits of Spot- Billed Pelicans
- These spot-billed pelican species feed mainly on fish.
- They also feed on crustaceans and small birds
- They catch fish in its huge bill pouch while swimming at the surface and they are usually found to fish in small flocks.
- These birds are found to nest in colonies.
- They build nest on low trees
- The nest may contain a clutch of three to four white eggs.
Find the list of national parks in India by visiting the linked article
Breeding of Spot-Billed Pelican
- The breeding season for the Spot- Billed Pelicans varies from October to May.
- In South India it coincides with the Northeast monsoon.
Habits for Spot-Billed Pelican
- The main habitat for the Spot-Billed Pelican is in shallow lowland freshwaters.
- They are found to breed only in peninsular India- Sri Lanka and in Cambodia.
- Few of the birds have also been seen in Gangetic plains of India during the winter seasons.
- The spot-billed pelican is not just a migratory bird and is also known to make local movements.
- In the non-breeding season they are recorded in Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
To know more about Biodiversity in general, visit the linked article
Status and conservation of Spot-Billed Pelicans
- The total global population of these birds is around 13,000 to 18,000 individual birds.
- Over the last three generations they have witnessed decline in population.
- These species are threatened because of the following- habitat loss, agricultural pollution, fishing, poaching of chicks and eggs and silting up of water bodies.
- Based on these threats the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorised them under the “Near Threatened” category.
- In the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 they are found in Schedule IV (Hunting prohibited).
Change Of Status of the Spot-Billed Pelican
- Over the years efforts for the conservation of these birds has resulted in increased protection of these birds.
- This enabled recovery in their numbers and the status of the species was changed from vulnerable to near threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.
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