Pelican: The bird with the impressive throat pouch

Pelicans are known for their large skin pouches that dangle from their bills. Some people think the pouches are used to store food, but it's not correct. In reality, pelicans use the pouches to capture food, like fishing nets. After capturing their prey, pelicans contract those pouches to drain water, then swallow the prey immediately. Besides for fish, pelicans also prey on other birds and amphibians, as long as they fit their throats.

A pelican with fish in its pouch.

A pelican with fish in its pouch.

Another interesting thing about pelicans is they predominantly breathe via their mouths, since their nostrils are clogged up by glands that can remove extra salt from the bloodstream.

The bird is popular in many cultures. In ancient Egypt, the pelican was related to resurrection. Early Christians used the pelican to symbolize Jesus Christ. Today, the great white pelican is the national bird of Romania and the brown pelican is the state bird of the U.S. state of Louisiana.

Here are some photos of this interesting bird.