A familiar bird of the tropic seashore, known in Antigua and Barbuda as ‘Booby’. Of graceful flight, they may be seen skimming within inches of the water in single file. They may also be observed diving from a height of a 60 - 70 feet. Air sacs under the skin, cushion the impact of steep dives, and bring then up like a cork, always facing the wind, ready for take-off. The large bills act as scoop-nets.
Pelicans appear to be on the decline, because of such hard pesticides as DDT and dieldrin found in the marine food chain. This causes the eggshell to be thin, and the eggs break in the nest.
Nests are built on top of mangroves or on the ground. The eggs are chalky white, but they soon become soiled with guano. Pelicans fly at 26 mph and they are voiceless.
The pelican has been adopted as the crest of the University of the West Indies.
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Special thanks to the late Desmond Nicholson of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and Peter Duce for making this section of Antigua Nice Ltd possible!