Pelecanus philippensis   Gmelin,  1789 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyright: pbase

Size: 140-152 cm, Range mass: 4100 to 5700 g, Range wingspan: 5.25 to 6.07 m.

Voice: Usually silent.

Habits: Gregarious, oftern found in associations with egrets and cormorants, breeds from September to April.

Adult: Sexes alike. Head, neck and upperparts grey, underparts greyish-white, under tail-coverts mottled with brown, bill and gular pouch flesh-coloured, blue spots on upper mandible and blackish marking on pouch, nuchal crest brown, composed of white-tipped elongated feathers, legs and feet dark brown. In summer, under wing-coverts and under tail-coverts slightly wine-coloured, in winter lower back, rump and flanks tinged with vinaceous. Juvenile: Pale brown above and white below.

Nesting: Season- November to April. Nest- a large stick platform in tall trees and palms, often far from water, several nests in the same tree, and the colony often covering large areas. Eggs-3, chalky white, becoming considerably dirty as incubation proceeds.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Spot Billed Pelican (English)
• Spottedbilled Pelican (English)
• Grey Pelican (English)
• Hawasil (Hindi)
• Kurer (Hindi)
• Spot-billed pelican (English)
• short-billed pelican (English)
• Zholiwala, Hawaseel (Marathi)
• Ruperi pen (Gujrati)
• Kotumpannom (Malayalam)
• Chinkabatu (Tamil)
Economic Importance and Threats
(Key threats are a combination of human disturbance at breeding colonies and wetlands, extensive felling of nesting trees, the impact of invasive plants on the species's wetland habitat, hunting and poaching of eggs and chicks. Additional threats include the loss of important feeding-sites through siltation, agricultural intensification, aquaculture development, building of power stations, drainage and conversion of wetlands, declines in wetland productivity as a result of pesticide use, and over-exploitation of fisheries.)
Importance:  Commercial
(Pelicans have been historically used as domestic birds in Egypt and as fishing helpers in India. Relatively slow and direct in flight, pelicans make easy birds to track, leading fishermen to fish-rich areas. Unlike many other birds, pelicans eat a number of fish that are not considered commercially valuable such as carp and silversides, and do not typically compete with commercial fishermen. As a vulnerable species, P. philippensis may also increase ecotourism to Southeast Asia. They are occasionally consumed in Cambodia and possibly other countries as well.)
Importance:  Ecosystem balance
(Spot-billed pelicans are predators of small to medium-sized fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Young pelicans may also be prey to crows, Brahminy kites, and jackals. There are no known mutualisms or commensalisms involving this species.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Mainly fish in large quantity, small reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic crustaceans
Predator:  Brahminy kites Haliastus indus crows (Corvus) jackals (Canis aureus)
IUCN Status:  NearThreatened


• Karnataka INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh INDIA
• Tamil Nadu INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.66) (Long: 76.55) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.28) (Long: 76.31) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Muthupet Mangroves (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 79.58) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Pallikaranai Wetlands INDIA
• Kerela, Kuttanad wetlands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Tirunelveli district INDIA
• Andra Pradesh, West Godavari district INDIA
• Assam, Kaziranga National Park INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Johnsingh, AJT (2001) The Kalakad-Mundanthurai tiger reserve: A global heritage of biological diversity Current Science Indian Acadamy of Sciences 80(3) 378-388 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Nandi, NC; Das, SR; Bhuinya, S and Dasgupta, JM (1993) Wetland faunal resources of West Bengal, I., north and south 24-Parganas districts Occasional paper no 150 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI 18264
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Islam, MZ and Rahmani, AR (2002) Threatened birds of India 7(1) 1-102
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at -
  • Kumar, P and Gupta, SP (1979) 2 new spirurid nematodes of birds Rivista di Parassitologia 40(1-2) 43-48 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Abbaasi, SA (1997) Wetlands of India-Ecology and Threats Discovery Publishing House,New Delhi II 1-182 Available at - NIO, RC Kochi
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ali, S (1977) The book of Indian birds Bombay Natural History Society 175 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Birds of India Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Nayak, A.K. (2006) Status of migratory shorebirds at Bhitarkanika and Chilika wetlands on the east coast of India Waterbirds around the world. Eds. G.C. Boere, C.A. Galbraith & D.A. Stroud The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK 305-307pp Available at -
  • Sivaperuman C and Jayson EA (2000) Birds of Kol wetland, Thrissur, Kerala Zoo's print journal 15(10) 344-349pp Available at -
  • Nikhil Raj PP, Ranjini J, Dhanya R, Subramanian J, Azeez PA and Bhupathy S (2010) Consolidated checklist of birds in the Pallikaranai Wetlands, Chennai, India Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(8) 1114-1118pp Available at -
  • Deiva Oswin S (1999) Avifaunal diversity of Muthupet mangrove forest Zoo's print journal 14(6) 47-53 Available at -
  • Gopi GV and Pandav B (2007) Avifauna of Bhitarkanika Mangroves, India Zoo's print journal 22(10) 2839-2847pp Available at -
  • Narayanan SP, Thomas AP and Sreekumar B (2011) Ornithofauna and its conservation in the Kuttanad wetlands, southern portion of Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site, India Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4) 1663–1676 Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO

Page last updated on:2013-02-08

Back to Search