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Australian Pelican

Australian Pelican
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-07-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-06-14 7:29
Viewed: 3162
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is a large water bird, widespread on the inland and coastal waters of Australia and New Guinea, also in Fiji, parts of Indonesia and as a vagrant to New Zealand.

The Australian Pelican was first described by Dutch naturalist Coenraad Jacob Temminck in 1824. Its specific epithet is derived from the Latin verb conspicere "to perceive", hence "conspicuous".

The Australian Pelican is medium-sized by pelican standards: 160 to 180 cm long with a wingspan of 2.3 to 2.6 m. Weight can range from 4 to 13 kg, although most of these pelicans weigh between 4.54 and 7.7 kg. It is predominantly white with black along the primaries of the wings. The pale, pinkish bill is enormous, even by pelican standards, and is the largest bill in the avian world. The record-sized bill was 50 cm long.
Pelicans work in groups to drive fish to shallower water, where they stick their sensitive bills in to snatch their prey.

Distribution and habitat
Australian Pelicans prefer large expanses of open water without too much aquatic vegetation. The surrounding environment is unimportant: it can be forest, grassland, desert, estuarine mudflats, an ornamental city park, or industrial wasteland, provided only that there is open water able to support a sufficient supply of fish.
Australian Pelicans follow no particular schedule of regular movement, simply following the availability of food supplies. When the normally barren Lake Eyre filled during 1974 to 1976, for example, only a handful of pelicans remained around the coastal cities: when the great inland lakes dried again, the population dispersed once more, flocks of thousands being seen on the northern coasts and some individuals reaching Christmas Island, Palau and New Zealand.
The species became first known to occur in New Zealand from a specimen shot at Jerusalem in 1890 and small numbers of subfossil bones, the first found at Lake Grassmere in 1947, followed by records of other stray individuals. The bones were later described as a new (sub)species, Pelecanus (conspicillatus) novaezealandiae (Scarlett, 1966: "New Zealand Pelican") as they appeared to be larger, but Worthy (1998), reviewing new material, determined that they were not separable from the Australian population. These fossils were first found in 1930.

The Australian Pelican begins breeding at two or three years of age. Breeding season varies, occurring in winter in tropical areas (north of 26oS) and late spring in parts of southern Australia. Any time after rainfall is usual in inland areas. The nest is a shallow depression in earth or sand, sometimes with some grass lining. Grassy platforms are constructed at Lake Alexandrina in South Australia. Nesting is communal, with colonies located on islands (such as the North Peron Island) or sheltered areas in the vicinity of lakes or the sea. Breeding Australian pelicans will lay one or three chalky-white eggs measuring 93 x 57 mm, which are often scratched and dirty. After they hatch, the larger one will be fed more, and the smaller one will eventually die of starvation or siblicide. For the first two weeks the chicks will be fed regurgitated liquid, but for the remaining two months they will be fed fish such as goldfish or the introduced European carp, and some invertebrates.

Not Widespread throughout its large range, the Australian Pelican is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


buscape, Marco2010, maaciejka, oldferret, vanda, goatman04, skobek, marius-secan, Alex99, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To marius-secan: ThanksPeterZ 1 06-15 13:24
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,
great capture of this Pelican with excellent sharpness and lovely details. I also like the beautiful colours and the nice reflections.
Best wishes,

Una foto da libri di ornitologia,splendido esemplare di pellicano con dei magnifici colori ben definiti, grande nitidezza con notevoli particolari molto bello l’occhio come il becco,ottima la composizione complimenti.
Ciao Marco.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-06-14 10:04]

Hello Peter.
A wonderful portrait of this pelican.Excellent DOF and POV.The details are very sharp and crisp.Very nice colours and detail in the plumage and beak.Well composed Best regards Siggi

hallo Peter
Mooi gedetaileerde foto van deze super mooie pelikaan
prachtige kleuren en super scherp genomen
bedankt groet lou

Hi Peter,
just beautiful. Amazing colours. Excellent sharpness. Great composition.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2012-06-14 11:23]

Hello Peter,
This is a fine shot and a nice reminder of meeting the Australian Pelican during our trip to Australia nearly 7 yrs ago.
The POV is great and taken with utmost sharpness, nice WB, natural colours and good contrast against the dark water BG.
Thanks and best regards,

Hi Peter,
A splendid shot. The colours make it look like it is wearing makeup. Taken with good white balance, depth of colour with excellent detail.
TFS regards Bill

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-06-14 15:24]

Hi Peter,magnificent capture whit a very professional light management for the best white and a absolute perfection of the sharpness too,the eye details are really fantastics!Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

Ciao Peter, fantastic portarait of lovely pelican, fascinating reflectios, wonderful natural colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2012-06-14 23:41]

Hello Peter,
Beautiful colored Bird, excellent sharp and colorful details, interesting species, TFS!

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2012-06-15 4:11]

Hi Peter!
Superb portrait of Pelican, capturd with splendid linghting and nice reflections.
Amazing details and great DOF.
ciao! Vanda

Hi Peter,

An excellent capture with such beautiful colors, sharpness & details. Well composed & presented. great POV & natural setting.

Very nice work & TFS.

Regards & best wishes!


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-06-15 7:20]

The colors of this pelican are very beautiful, looks like this one is in hurry but you captured it well with fine details. tfs.

Ciao Peter. A masterpiece MF! Management of light and white is perfect. Excellent focus razor details in great clarity.


  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2012-06-15 11:45]

Hallo Peter,
Lovely capture ..
a very good focus, sharpness, colors, details, POV and composition.
Best wishes,

Hello Peter,
a beautiful bird. A spectacular portrait. Beautiful details and colors. Excellent sharpness and composition.
Regards - Slawek

Hello Peter,
Gorgeous capture. It is a lovely composition with one of the most interesting water birds species. The details and colors are great. Splendid contrast against the background. Excellent shoot.
Thanks for sharing!

Amazing Pelican Peter! Fantastic photo too!! Very good composition, wonderful colours and impressive sharpness!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-06-16 17:57]

Hello Peter,
What a beautifull pelican who seems to have every color of the rainbow in it's plumage. The contrasting black and white feathers on it's wings, back and body are stunning to view. You have managed to capture some mighty fine detail and the exposure is right on the money. Great work!!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2012-06-17 4:04]

Hi Peter.
Splendid shot. You have pictured the beautiful bird at amazing pose. I am impressed a lot with terrific exposure and reproduction of plumage as well as all other attractive features of the bird. Water surface with reflections create a wonderful canvas for this beauty. Well done and kind wishes.

  • Great 
  • Tina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 0 N: 132] (1427)
  • [2012-06-17 5:17]

Hello Peter,

Impressive details, colors and clarity ! Outstanding capture! TFS Tina

Peter, excellent shot of this pelican. Really sharp.

Hello Peter

Great close-up of the Australian Pelican,
great focus, sharpness and details,
expressive eye-contact, TFS


Hello Peter.
This is lovely sharp shot of this fine looking bird swimming. Details are first class with pleasing tone in the frame.
Well done!

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