Description of the pelican
The pelican is a majestic and iconic waterbird, easily recognizable thanks to its unmistakable appearance and unique features. It belongs to the Pelicanidae family, which includes eight different species spread throughout the world. The most common species are the large pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) and the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). The first notable feature of the pelican is its large, long, broad and extensible bill. This bill has an extensible pouch called a gular, located at the lower base of the bill. This pouch is used to capture and store prey, especially fish. When the pelican dives into the water to catch a fish, it quickly closes its beak and uses its tongue to empty the water from the pouch, leaving only the captured fish inside. The pelican is also distinguished by its imposing silhouette and large wingspan. It can measure up to 5.9 feet in length and have a wingspan of almost 10 feet, making it one of the largest flying birds. Its plumage is generally white with shades of gray or brown, although some species have more pronounced color variations. The pelican's legs are short but powerful, adapted to swimming and walking on the ground. They have membranes between the toes, which facilitates movement in the water. As for its habitat, the pelican is found mainly in coastal areas, lagoons and estuaries. They feed mainly on fish, but may also eat crustaceans, amphibians and smaller birds. Pelicans often gather in colonies for nesting and breeding, forming large, noisy and lively communities. Beyond their physical beauty, pelicans are also prized for their social behavior. They are often seen flying in V-formation with other members of their colony, which allows them to reduce wind resistance and save energy during migrations.
When to see them?
Pelicans are present year-round in the Galapagos archipelago, which means that you can see them at any time of the year during your visit. However, it is worth noting that pelicans are most active during the breeding season, which usually takes place between January and May. During this period, you are likely to see pelicans building their nests, mating and raising their chicks.
Where to observe them?
There are several places in the Galapagos archipelago where pelicans can be seen, including the following islands: - Genovesa Island: this island is reputed to be one of the best places to see pelicans. You can see them nest on the steep cliffs and dive into the water to fish. - Española Island: Another island where you can see colonies of pelicans. They are usually found near cliffs and coastal rocks. - Floreana Island: This island is also home to a population of pelicans, especially near the bay of Playa Negra. - Santa Cruz Island: On this island pelicans can also be sighted, especially in coastal areas such as Bahia Academia and around Puerto Ayora. It is important to keep in mind that pelicans are mobile birds and can move between the different islands of the archipelago. Coastal areas, beaches and cliffs are the best places to see them.