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Family XLI.--Pelecaninae. Pelecans

Family XLI.--Pelecaninae. Pelecans

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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Bill longer than the head, rather slender, straight, upper mandible with the ridge separated from the side by a groove, and terminated by a narrow, generally decurved, pointed unguis; lower mandible with the crura elastic and extensile, the angle very long and narrow. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, small, or obsolete. Space around and before the eye generally bare, as is a portion of the gular sac. Head generally of moderate size, but various; neck long; body elongated, rather slender. Feet short and stout; tibia bare at its lower part; tarsus short, very stout, compressed, scaly or scutellate in front; toes four, all connected by webs, and scutellate; first small, fourth longest. Claws short, strong, curved, rather blunt, that of the third toe generally pectinate. Plumage soft, blended, on the back compact and imbricated. Wings long; tail of moderate length, narrow, rounded or tapering. Tongue extremely small, triangular, fleshy; oesophagus excessively wide; a gular sac, sometimes of enormous capacity; proventricular belt generally discontinuous; stomach very small, slightly muscular, epithelium smooth; a lobular pyloric lobe; intestine very long and slender; coeca small, cylindrical; cloaca globular. Trachea simple, flattened; no inferior laryngeal muscles.

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