Pelecanus crispus Bruch, 1832, Dalmatia. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Curly-headed pelican; French: Pйlican fris; German: Krauskopfpelikan; Spanish: Pelнcano Ceсudo.
Large birds, 63–71 in (160–180 cm); 20–29 lb (9–13 kg); male larger than female. Silvery-white shaggy or curly crest and brownish black wingtips.
Breeds locally from southeastern Europe to China. Winters from the Balkans through southeast China.
Lakes, rivers, deltas, and estuaries where human disturbance is minimal. Breeds on islands or among tall emergent vegetation.
May display antagonistic
in the form of bill clattering and gaping, especially when defending nest sites. Male emits hisses and spitting sounds in concert with bowing display during courtship.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Less likely than other big pelicans to fish in large flotillas; usually feeds alone, in pairs, or in trios. Takes a wide variety of both freshwater and marine fish, including eels (Anguilla), carp (Cyprinus and Carassius), and rudd (Scardinius).
Breeds in smaller colonies than many other large pelicans. Onset of breeding varies widely depending on climate; may be as early as February or as late as August. Nests are constructed from plant material and bonded with excreta and frequently exceed 3 ft (1 m) in height and diameter. Two eggs are typically laid and incubated for 31–34 days. Chicks are hatched naked but develop white feathers within a month. Nestlings aggregate in crиches by seven weeks of age; fledge at 12 weeks; independent at 15 weeks.
Downlisted from Vulnerable to Conservation Dependent by BirdLife International at the close of the twentieth century. General population decline accelerated dangerously in the twentieth century due to reduction of wetland habitat, hunting, and overall human molestation including purposeful eradication by fishermen. Comprehensive conservation measures in Europe, including reintroduction of zoo-bred birds, are beginning to show results.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Prone to disturbance by tourists. Blamed for reduction in fish stocks. Bills are prized by traditional Mongolian herders who continue to hunt them.
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