Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
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WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Blue-footed Booby
 
 
 

TRAITS
 Ratites
 Tinamous
 Cracids/Galli
 Waterfowl
   Screamers
   Ducks

 Penguins
 Loons
 Grebes
 Procellarids
   Albatrosses
   Petrels
   Storm-Petrels

Totipalmate Swm

   Tropicbirds
   Gannets/Boobies
   Pelicans
   Cormorants
   Anhingas
   Frigatebirds

 
Waders
   Herons
   Ibises
   Storks  

 NW Vultures
 Flamingos
 Raptors
 Gruiformes
   Buttonquail
   Bustards
   Cranes
   Rails

 Shorebirds
   Sandgrouse
   Plovers
   Oystercatchers
   Stilts
   Sandpipers
   Gulls/Terns
   Auks

 Pigeons
 Parrots
 Turacos
 Cuckoos
 Owls
 Frogmouths
 Nightjars
 Swifts/Humbd
 Colies
 Coraciae

   Hornbills
   Hoopoes
   Trogons
   Rollers
   Kingfishers
   Bee-eaters
   Jacamars/Puffbd

 
Pici
   Honeyguides
   Woodpeckers
   Barbets/Toucans

PASSERINES
   NZ WRENS
   OW SUBOSC

      Broadbills
      Pittas

 NW SUBOSC
   NW Flycatchers

   Becards
   Cotingas
   Manakins
   Antbirds
   Ovenbirds
   Woodcreepers
   Antthrushes
   Tapaculos 

 OSCINES
 Lyre-/Scrub-birds
 Bowerbirds
 Aust. Wrens
 Honeyeaters
 Scrubwrens
 Aust. Robins
 Kinglets
 Shrikes
 Vireos
 Whistlers
 Corvids
 Birds-of-Paradse
 OW Orioles
 Cuckoo-shrikes
 Fantails
 Drongos
 Monarchs
 Bush-shrikes
 Wattle-eyes
 Vangas
 Waxwings
 Dippers
 Thrushes
 OW Flycatchers
 Starlings
 Mimids
 Nuthatches
 N Creepers
 Wrens
 Gnatcatchers
 Tits/Parids
 Larks
 Swallows
 Leaf-Warblers
 Bulbuls
 Cisticolas
 White-eyes
 Babblers
 OW Warblers
 Flowerpeckers
 Sunbirds
 OW Sparrows
 Accentors
 Pipits
 Estridids
 Weavers
 Whydahs
 9-prim. Oscines

   Fringillines
   Carduelines
   Hawaiian Honycrp
   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
   Tanagers
   Cardinals
   NW Blackbirds

TOP

 
Pelecaniformes
 
Skip to:   
Pelecaniformes
Families: Tropicbirds, Gannets and Boobies, Pelicans, Cormorants, Anhingas, Frigatebirds,
      Hamerkop, Shoebill
 
Skip to:  
All Tropicbirds, All Sulids, All Pelicans,All Cormorants, All Anhingas, All Frigatebirds,
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
 
Skip to:  
Plunge Diving, Relative Sizes of Pelicans, Identifying Frigatebirds
 
Species:   
Red-tailed Tropicbird, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Australian Pelican,
Brown Pelican (Galapagos), Peruvian Pelican. Pied Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant,
Brandt's Cormorant
, Neotropic Cormorant, Rock Cormorant, Imperial Cormorant,
Red-legged Cormorant, Flightless Cormorant, Great Frigatebird
 
Images:   
Red-billed Tropicbird, Blue-footed Booby, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant,
Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Totipalmate toes, Gular pouch, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Masked Booby, Northern Gannet, Brown Pelican. Anhinga, Great Frigatebird
   
 
Pelecaniform Traits
 
  Four Webbed Toes - Totipalmate Feet
  On the beach, study bird foot prints in soft sand. Gulls have webbed feet (involving the three front toes). Willets have a web at the base of the toes (they are "semipalmate"). Many small shorebirds that walk the beach lack webs. Footprints
Feet
   
Footprint of a Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, in soft sand toward the Kiawah River. Feet to the right, fecal droppings to the left (note the insoluble white uric acid which is the principal nitrogenous waste in birds in contrast to soluble urea in mammals). Urine and feces are voided together from a common chamber, the cloaca..
A schematic diagram of the pelican's footprint to the left. The feet are labeled and the toes are numbered. Note impressions of web between all toes on each foot. Hence the feet are "totipalmate." Pelicaniform birds are the only birds with all four toes webbed...
 
Brown Pelican
Feet Booby feet
 
Brown Pelican, Discovery Island,
Disney World.
Feet enlarged in the
image to the right
Feet of a perched Brown Pelican. The web between toes 1 and 2 is evident on the right foot (to the left - the bird is facing left). Toes 2-4 with a complete web are shown on the left foot (nearest foot). [No larger image]
Feet of a Blue footed Booby, Sula nebouxii. Note all four toes are webbed. The first toe (hallux) is medial, toe 4 is the outside toe on each foot. Española. Galapagos.
 
  Gular Pouch
 
Australian Pelican

Gular pouch

Gular pouch in a Double-crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus. The pouch is usually inconospicuous and is much smaller than that of the pelicans. This individual may be engaged in "gular flutter" - when hot, birds cool by evaporating water from their throat which may flutter to enhance evaporation. This is often seen in young birds in the nest. [Rapid breathing would flush the lungs of carbon dioxide and lead to respiratory problems.]

Gular pouch
 
Gular pouch in an Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicillatus. The mouth is open and sun highlights the pouch (blood vessels are apparent in the unpigmented wall). Pelicans use the pouch to collect large volumes of water holding their prey when they feed. With its large surface and rich vascularity, the pouch can also assist in thermoregulation. The Australian Pelican has the longest bill of any bird - up to 18" in many.
Gular pouch in a Blue-footed Booby, Sula nebouxii excisa, This individual may also be thermoregulating by using the pouch for evaporative cooling. In gannets and boobies, the pouch is relatively inconspicuous and is probably not used to store or carry fish.
  Anhinga
   
Gular Pouch in an Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga. Anhinghas catch fish by spearing them with their sharp beak and the pouch probably plays little role in feeding but may be important in evaporative cooling.
   
     Gular pouches are most conspicuous in pelicans where they are involved in catching fish.
   In Japan and other eastern countries, fisherman use cormorants to make commercial catches (they place a noose around the neck that doesn't allow the bird to swallow its larger catch - the bird is on a leash and is pulled in to the fisherman's boat to remove the fish. Birds are allowed to swallow enough to remain healthy.
   
  Magnificent Frigatebird
Male Great Frigatebirds, Fregata minor, expand a brightly colored red gular pouch as part of their courtship ritual. Note that the pouch has been modified for display and does not play a role in feeding. North Seymour Island, Galapagos.
Flying
       
     Pouches are less conspicuous in anhingas and are missing in tropicbirds (their throat is covered by feathers and it is questionable whether they have a true gular pouch).
 
 
Plunge Diving
 
    We commonly see Brown Pelicans flying, often 10-30 feet or so above the surface, searching for food using their eyes. When they see fish, they fold their wings and dive into the water in pursuit - often with a fairly large splash. (There eyes are not adapted for under-water vision so their success depends in large measure on their aim and sense of touch.) Brown Pelicans also swim on the Kiawah River and on our estuaries where the water is shallow (especially at low tide). Here they may be seen to feed from the surface, lunging with their bills and pouch to trap fish near the surface. I have seen a Brown Pelican descend on Capn' Sam's Creek at low tide - flying with his mouth open, pouch spread, and feet fanned, as he landed with the pouch just under his target which was immediately scooped up while he settled on the surface.
   The Peruvian Pelican, Pelecanus thaqus, which is the size of the American White Pelican (twice the mass of the Brown Pelican) also plunge dives.
   Other pelican species feed from the surface -  they dip their beak with an open pouch and lunge to capture prey.
   Northern Gannets, which we may see in winter, are sleek divers with small pouches. They regularly fold their wings and dive like arrows from up to 60 feet or more above the water which they enter with almost no splash. Look for white birds with black wing tips (adults). Boobies also plunge like bullets into the water in pursuit of fish, often in schools. Both gannets and boobies (and all pelecaniforms) have the nasal openings closed so they will not drive water into the nasal passages when they impact the surface.
   Other fish-eating birds may also plunge dive - many of the smaller terns and the Belted Kingfisher are divers. Some of the procellariids, gulls, and others may dive for dinner. Ospreys and Bald Eagles, however, catch fish using their claws.
   As you study our birds of the beach see if you can also learn their habits - how they fly, feed, and interact with others...
   
Pelican diving
Diving
Immersed
   
Brown Pelican - diving sequence - plunge to immersion
       
    Banner - Blue-footed Booby. Punta Vincente Roca. Santiago, Galapagos.