February 26 - March 3, 2012: Issue 47

Pelican Lamps

Four pelicans are frequently seen perching on the lamps that light the bridge over Narrabeen lagoon. The pelicans which are also, and incidentally, an ancient symbol of change, seem quite happy overseeing the roar of traffic below.

The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is medium-sized by pelican standards: 160 to 180 cm (5.2 to 5.9 ft) long with a wingspan of 2.3 to 2.6 m (7.5 to 8.5 ft). Weight can range from 4 to 13 kg (8.8 to 29 lb), although most of these pelicans weigh between 4.54 and 7.7 kg (10.0 and 17 lb).

Its specific epithet is derived from the Latin verb conspicere "to perceive", hence "conspicuous". From fossil records it is known that pelicans have been around for over 30 million years, the earliest fossil Pelecanus being found in Oligocene deposits in France.


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