Outback Pelicans

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2810-gallery-01Pelicans are easy to spot by their long bills and pouches. Australian pelicans have the largest bill in the avian world, ranging from 15 to 20 inches.
2810-gallery-02Australian pelicans generally feed in groups, called pods, cooperating to herd fish into one location before swooping down to catch their prey.
2810-gallery-03Pelicans stand on top of a coastal fish shop, waiting for scraps. Mature Australian pelicans consume an average of 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) daily.
2810-gallery-04Pelicans are an old family of birds. Pelican fossils have been found dating back almost 40 million years.
2810-gallery-05Despite their large size, Australian pelicans are so buoyant they cannot sink under water.
2810-gallery-06Pelicans are able to stay airborne for up to twenty-four hours by gliding on thermal winds.
2810-gallery-07With no water, Lake Eyre is one of the largest saltpans in the world. The dry, flat Lake Eyre drainage basin covers an area equal to Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.
2810-gallery-08In years of heavy rainfall, water reaches the Lake Eyre saltpan through a series of tributaries. The area is transformed into one of the largest lakes in Australia, attracting pelicans and other wildlife.
2810-gallery-09After mating, male and female pelicans share incubation duties for about a month until the eggs hatch.