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Australia’s only pelican, the Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is a large, distinctive species which is notable for having the longest bill of any bird. The Australian pelican’s characteristically large bill can measure up to 47 centimetres in length. This distinctive, elongated bill has a hooked tip and a fleshy, pinkish or yellowish throat pouch, which turns dark blue, pink and scarlet during courtship. The adult Australian pelican is mostly white, except for its upperwings and tail, which are black. This species has a short, grey crest on its head during the breeding season, and its tail is short and square. Pelicans are good swimmers with strong legs, which in the Australian pelican are blue-grey. While the male and female Australian pelican are very similar in appearance, the female is usually smaller than the male, and has a much shorter bill. Juvenile Australian pelicans look very similar to the adults, but have brown rather than black markings. For such a large bird, the Australian pelican is a surprisingly quiet species. The Australian pelican often feeds cooperatively, and large feeding flocks can contain up to 1,900 birds.

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