Pelican feeding on Gambusia holbrooki

To: canberrabirds chatline <>
Subject: Pelican feeding on Gambusia holbrooki
From: Con Boekel <>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2018 06:09:24 +0000

Mosquito fish Gambusia holbrooki  are an introduced species. Although small, they are rated as a threatening process because of their predatory behaviour. The female may grow up to 40mm.

This morning at Kelly's a Pelican was actively fishing for around half an hour in very shallow water. For much of the time it could only fully inflate its lower beak with water by twisting its head sideways. At times it was possible to photograph the species of fish being caught when the Pelican threw them upwards and towards the throat to swallow them. The only species that were identified were Gambusia. It is reasonably unlikely that the Pelican caught loach, carp or redfin during the half hour. The Gambusia did not look very filling!

At times the Pelican captured plant detritus along with the fish. It was not possible to work out how the bird separated the plants from the fish before swallowing the latter.

The attached image has suffered as a result of the post-processing required to reduce the size to meet COG size limits.




Description: 0U7A1973 a COG chatline.jpg

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