Spot-billed Pelicans

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    In Context

    • A nematode infestation has led to mass mortality of spot-billed pelicans (Pelicanus philippensis) at Telineelapuram Important Bird Area (IBA) in Naupada swamp of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh.
      • Thousands of spot-billed pelicans and a few hundred painted storks migrate from the Siberian region to breed in the Telineelapuram IBA.

    About 

    • Preliminary inquiry suggests that nematode infestation is the cause for the death of the spot-billed pelicans that prey on nearby water bodies. 
    • Aquaculture management practices surrounding the habitat are said to be the source for the parasite. 
    • The nematode infestation would not spread from one species to another species
      • The way the infestation transfers from the fish, snails, and invertebrates is complex. It is purely related to water and aqua ponds.

    Image Courtesy:ebird.org

    About Spot-billed pelicans

    • Scientific Name: Pelecanus philippensis.
    • Physical Description: They are relatively small pelicans. Mature pre-breeding spot-billed pelicans are generally grey dorsally, blending to white ventrally with a fairly long brownish-grey crest. The eye-ring and most facial skin is an orange-yellow colour, though the skin in front of each eye is bright purple.
    • Behaviour: It is a social species, living and travelling mainly in flocks. Spot-billed pelicans are not graceful on land, but fly well and are strong swimmers. 
      • It is capable of hunting huge fish from the water bodies and swamps and thus, it is vulnerable to infestation.
    • Food Habits: Spot-billed pelicans are carnivorous and eat a diet of mainly fish, but which is sometimes supplemented by small reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic crustaceans.
      • It hunts for food in both freshwater and marine environments, sometimes diving slightly below the surface but never to any great depth.
    • Habitat: lives in lowland freshwater, brackish, and marine wetland areas of Southeast Asia, mainly near open water.
      • The largest remaining populations are in India, Sri Lanka, southern Cambodia, and Sumatra along with coastal areas.  
    • Conservation Status: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species listed it as Near Threatened.

    Source: TH