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Pink-backed Pelican: Elegance in Flight

The Pink-backed Pelican, characterized by its graceful demeanor and distinctive plumage, is a captivating avian species found in the wetlands and coastal regions of Africa. With its striking pinkish plumage on its back during the breeding season and impressive wingspan, this pelican species enchants birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike with its beauty and aerial prowess.

Physical Characteristics:

The Pink-backed Pelican, scientifically known as Pelecanus rufescens, showcases a wingspan ranging from 2 to 2.5 meters (6.5 to 8 feet), making it one of the smaller pelican species. Its plumage is predominantly white, complemented by shades of gray on its wings and back. During the breeding season, adults develop a distinctive pinkish hue on their back, hence their name. Their long, broad wings enable them to soar gracefully across the skies, while their large, pouched bills are ideal for catching fish, their primary prey.

Habitat and Behavior:

Pink-backed Pelicans are predominantly found in shallow freshwater and brackish habitats, including lakes, rivers, marshes, and estuaries, where they can forage for fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic prey. They are highly social birds, often congregating in large flocks during the breeding season and forming cooperative groups to engage in synchronized fishing techniques. These pelicans are skilled divers, plunging from the air or water’s surface to catch their prey with remarkable precision.

Breeding and Nesting:

During the breeding season, Pink-backed Pelicans engage in elaborate courtship displays, with males engaging in aerial acrobatics and vocalizations to attract mates. Nesting colonies are established in secluded areas, often on small islands or in dense vegetation along the water’s edge. Females typically lay two to three eggs in a shallow nest constructed from sticks, reeds, and vegetation. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks until they fledge, a process that takes several months.

The Pink-backed Pelican is a symbol of elegance and grace in the avian kingdom, with its striking appearance and impressive aerial maneuvers captivating observers worldwide.

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