Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Quiet paddle

The scientific name of this bird, the Grey Pelican or the Spot-billed Pelican, is Pelecanus philippensis. This is because an early description of the Spot-billed Pelican was based on a specimen captured at Luzon in the Philippines in the 1760s. The name stuck on, despite evidence which showed that even though the species ranged from Iran through the Indian sub-continent on to Indonesia, these pelicans only bred in peninsular India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

The Grey Pelicans don't seem to be bothered by humans. They have large nesting sites close to human habitations and are quite content even inside cities. Chennai has a fairly large population; it is estimated that their population in southern India is increasing, to the extent that the IUCN has changed its Red-Book classification from "Vulnerable" to "Near Threatened".

Of course, with such a lovely environment as you can get at the Adyar Poonga, these birds are bound to be optimistic about their future. Unlike in the Philippines, where this bird, named for the islands, has been locally extinct since the 1960s!

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