Australian pelicans are the largest of the world’s species of pelican. Females are slightly bigger than males and can reach a weight of 8.5kg and a wingspan of 3.5m. Take off and landing is difficult for such a heavy bird and it requires running along the surface of the water for some distance to build up enough speed to become airborne. When landing, a pelican skis on the surface while trying to maintain its balance with slight adjustments of its wings.
This portrait was made on the beach at Monkey Mia and highlights the startling colours of pelican’s orbits, bill and pouch. Monkey Mia was first established as a tiny pearling and fishing settlement. The fishermen would give some of their catch to the dolphins and pelicans in the area and the descendents of these still make their way to be fed at a beach here.