Wikipedia:Today's featured article/November 8, 2014

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Great white pelican

Pelicans are a genus of large water birds comprising the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species (great white pelican pictured) have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone. They frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. Gregarious birds, they often hunt cooperatively and breed colonially. Four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground, and four brown or grey-plumaged species nest mainly in trees. The birds have been persecuted because of their perceived competition with fishers, and have suffered from habitat destruction, disturbance and environmental pollution. They have a long history of cultural significance in mythology, and in Christian and heraldic iconography. (Full article...)

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