Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicillatus, photographed at Atherton, Queensland, Australia. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Steve Duncan, 26 August 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200 w/ Nikkor 300mm f/4 & TC17E.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

The Australian Pelican is found throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea and western Indonesia, with occasional reports in New Zealand and various western Pacific islands. Pelicans are widespread on freshwater, estuarine and marine wetlands and waterways including lakes, swamps, rivers, coastal islands and shores.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 David
    November 29, 2009

    ummm, a pelican… in Australia…

    an Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus): mostly white with black along the primaries; the pinkish bill is the largest bill in the avian world…

  2. #2 Vince Whirlwind
    November 30, 2009

    Yes, all you need is the bill for that one.

    Incidentally, if you want some literature starring Pelicans, you really can’t go past Colin Thiele’s “Pannikin & Pinta”:

    Absolutely fantastic – and very educational with regards to the Lake Eyre habitat cycles.

  3. #3 David
    November 30, 2009

    Thank you Vince, although the Book Review and Pannikin Student Web Pages and even the host site,, are apparently no longer good links!

  4. #4 andrewt
    November 30, 2009

    Or Colin Thiele’s iconic children’s book:

    Still in print 40 years after publication.

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