One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A large gregarious waterbird with a long bill, an extensible throat pouch for scooping up fish, and mainly white or grey plumage.
Family Pelecanidae and genus Pelecanus: several species
- ‘While relaxing at a harbor-side lunch table, you can watch pelicans and fishing boats.’
- ‘The water birds hovering around the lake include pelicans, spoonbills, Egyptian geese and hammerkops.’
- ‘The white pelican, however, is a threatened species.’
- ‘It's known, however, that species ranging from pelican to ducks and waders are caught for consumption.’
- ‘Black swans, pelicans, white faced heron and mullet jumping out of the water were some of the attractions that were snapped by the budding photographers.’
- ‘You can visit all but three of the islands and paddle your heart out through preserved salt marsh on the eastern shores, where you might see ospreys, pelicans, egrets, or a bald eagle.’
- ‘The white pelican of North America is a large, web-footed bird with an enormous throat pouch for scooping up fish.’
- ‘Among the nearly 200 species found here are thicket tinamou, brown pelican, osprey, king vulture, and laughing gull.’
- ‘Flamingos are conceded by all to be closely linked to pelicans, albatrosses, loons, probably penguins, and the like - the charadriomorph lineage.’
- ‘In this lagoon, brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, great and snowy egrets, and numerous terns and gulls forage for fish and other items of food all day long.’
- ‘There are also flies whose larvae develop only in the tracheal passages of red kangaroos and lice that live in the throat pouches of cormorants and pelicans.’
- ‘When the grey pelican scooped up the group of goslings, two of them were caught by the huge bird.’
- ‘Most of the postcranial elements belong to continental waterbirds, including pelicans, anhingas, herons, storks, ducks, and rails.’
- ‘On your walk you will probably see mallards, grebes, canvasbacks and coons and perhaps snapping turtles and white pelicans.’
- ‘There are herons, ducks, geese, ospreys, eagles, vultures, pelicans, gulls, plovers, avocets, storks, francolins, guinea fowls and many more.’
- ‘Once again it's possible to see 20,000 American white pelicans or 500,000 ducks in a single day.’
- ‘Millions of birds - ducks, geese, pelicans, shore birds - use the sea each year.’
- ‘Over 350 species of birds have been recorded in Worcester Country, including pelicans and pewees, kingbirds and cuckoos, herons, harriers, and eagles.’
- ‘Seabirds like pelicans, penguins, and cormorants are highly vulnerable to oil, which can cover their feathers with a gluelike substance that can immobilize the animals.’
- ‘In Florida, populations of pelicans, egrets, spoonbills, and other water birds were suffering from pressure by commercial market hunters.’
- 1.1 A heraldic or artistic representation of a pelican, typically depicted pecking its own breast as a symbol of Christ.
- ‘Art nouveau pelicans uphold the piers of Blackfriars Bridge, and high overhead stands the great iron badge of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway.’
- ‘This act of self-vulning, in which the female pelican pecks blood from her chest to feed her young, symbolizes Christ feeding the faithful.’
- ‘Unfortunately, since ancient times, it has been the male pelican that has been said to wound himself in this way, and the pelican has thus always been a symbol of paternal sacrifice.’
- ‘The pelican is a symbol of self-sacrifice, and a Masonic symbol of resurrection!’
- ‘Two celery glasses made for them have the same pelican imagery engraved above a wide band of diamonds and diagonal blaze cuts.’
Late Old English pellicane, via late Latin from Greek pelekan, probably based on pelekus ‘axe’ (with reference to its bill).
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