International Journal of Pure and Applied Zoology

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Spatial and Temporal Variations of The Density of Spot-Billed Pelican Pelecanus Philippensis in Pulicat Lake, East Coast of Southern India

This study examined status and the population density of Spot-billed pelican from October 2010 to September 2012 in Pulicat Lake. Statistical analyses enabled distinctions to be made between pelican density with month, season, habitat, environmental factors and prey abundance. The analysis revealed spatial and temporal differences in pelican density in Pulicat Lake. Pelican populations were recorded in five different habitats. The freshwater habitat (2.18 km2) supported the highest density followed by mudflat (0.50 birds km2), river mouth (0.29 birds/km2), open water (0.028 birds/km2) and tidal flats (0.027 birds/km2). Population showed monthly, yearly and seasonal variations in numbers and densities in all habitats. Environmental factors and prey abundance greatly affects population density of pelicans and were considered to be influencing factor in Pulicat Lake. Within-site distribution of pelicans depends mainly on the movements of fish, which in turn is affected by meteorological parameters. On the other hand the occurrence of pelicans on this lake also much depended on ecological conditions in other nearby wetlands. It appears that pelicans present in freshwater habitats have favorable ecological conditions. The Pulicat Lake provides a mosaic of varying habitat conditions, essential for the population of Spot-billed Pelicans. However, the status of the Spot-billed Pelican in the Pulicat Lake appears to be a breeding resident.

Author(s): Vaithianathan Kannan* and Jeganathan Pandiyan