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Encyclopedia > Pelecanus philippensis
Spot-billed Pelican
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Pelecanidae
Genus: Pelecanus
Species: philippensis
Binomial name
Pelecanus philippensis
Gmelin, 1789

The Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) is a member of the pelican family. It breeds in southern Asia from India to Indonesia. It is a bird of large inland and coastal waters, especially shallow lakes. The nest is a heap of vegetation in a tree. 3-4 eggs is the usual clutch size.

This is a small pelican, at 125-150 cm length. It is mainly white, with a grey crest, hindneck and tail. In breeding plumage, there is a pink tone to the rump and underwings. Non-breeders are off-white in these areas, and immature birds are more extensively brown. As the species' name implies, there are grey spots on the pink bill in the breeding season.

Spot-billed Pelican is a localised resident, but is distributed more widely in the non-breeding season. Like most other pelicans, it catches fish in its huge bill pouch while swimming at the surface.


  • Seabirds by Harrison, ISBN 0-7470-8028-8
  • Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6

  Results from FactBites:
birding facts Birding Resources by the Fat Birder (398 words)
The shape and size of the skull, its structure and the coloration of the bills are often very helpful for the identification of the - often partly decayed - carcasses that can be found on the world`s coasts.
The Spotbilled Pelican (Pelecanus phillipensis), one of the largest birds of the Indian subcontinent, is in danger of vanishing forever from the face of the earth.
This is the story of a group of dedicated people fighting to save one of the five remaining breeding colonies of this endangered bird, in a small village in Karnataka...
  More results at FactBites »



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