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Species Hierarchy 
Common name: PELICAN - WHITE


Species Info:

This lifeform is widespread in North America. The white color will help identify this lifeform.

New World White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchus) breeds from North Dakota westward to California and British Columbia. Its winter range is from California through the southern United States to Guatemala. This is primarily a freshwater species that captures its prey while swimming. This gigantic bird is over five and one half feet long and has a wing span up to nine and one half feet. It is white with black primary feathers on the wings.

Pelican group (Family Pelecanidae) are a group of ancient birds
that have expandable pouches under the lower bill. There are only eight species of Pelicans found in the world. List of Known Pelicans (Alphabetical sequence)

Pelecanus conspiculatus   Australia Pelican     Australia
Pelecanus crispus         Dalmation Pelican     Orient
Pelecanus erythrorhynchus Amer. White Pelican   W North America
Pelecanus occidentalis    Brown Pelican         New World
Pelecanus onocrotalus     E. White Pelican      Eurasia & Africa
Pelecanus philippensis    Gray Pelican          Orient
Pelecanus roseus          W. White Pelican      Orient
Pelecanus rufescens       Pink Back Pelican     Africa

Pelicans and Allies (Order Pelecaniformes) contains six
different families of marine birds. Most are large species and
most feed on fish. One distinguishing feature of this order is the webbing that connects all the toes.

Aves contains about 8,650 different species of living birds known to science. Each year about one new species is discovered in some remote rain forest or remote island. In addition, scientists have been raising many subspecies to full species status which may raise the species count to 10,000.

However, each year about one species goes extinct. The rate of extinction is increasing, and the rate of new discovery is decreasing, so that the number of bird species will soon begin to decline rapidly. Although different taxonomists would organize the birds differently, there are approximately twenty-seven orders of birds. These orders are broken down into about one hundred and fifty-five different families.

Recent research of the genetic structure of some of the shore birds and owls would indicate that the present organization of orders and families should have some modification.

The birds are a worldwide group of animals that are characterized by having the front limbs modified into wings that are used for flying. Perhaps the most unique feature of the birds is the feathers. These feathers are made up of a central support called a quill and a series of small filaments that are hooked together as barbs.

For many years it was believed that Archaeopteryx discovered in Bavaria was the oldest bird from about 150 million years ago.  However, in l986, Sankar Chattterjee, a Texas paleontologist, reportedly discovered a bird in the genus Protoavis that lived about 225 million years ago.

Backboned Animals (Phylum Chordata) are the most advanced group of animals on earth. These animals are characterized by having a spinal cord or backbone. Most members have a clearly defined brain that controls the organism through a spinal cord. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are in this phylum.

Currently, some taxonomists believe that the fish should be divided into two groups (sharks and regular fishes) and that there are some other primitive groups in the phylum such as hagfish or lampreys.

Animal Kingdom contains numerous organisms that feed on other animals or plants. Included in the animal kingdom are the lower marine invertebrates such as sponges and corals, the jointed legged animals such as insects and spiders, and the backboned animals such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.


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