Magazine

Feature: Mr Percival and his friends

Date posted: 14 Feb 2013Author: STC Production: Storm Boy

Pelicans_622px.gifMr Percival, perhaps the world's most famous pelican, starred in the film version of Storm Boy, which was released in 1976. In honour of our exciting upcoming production Storm Boy, here we share some interesting facts about this noble bird species:

* The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) comes from the family Pelecanidae, which is found in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Fiji and Indonesia.

 It has been recorded as having the longest bill of any living bird at 50cm.

* The Australian pelican has a pale pink beak that turns a variety of colours (orange, dark blue, scarlet) during mating.

* Pelicans mostly eat fish, insects and crustaceans, and they feed by plunge-diving into water as they swim along.

* Australian pelicans, being naturally feisty, have also been known to feed on small birds, reptiles and amphibians when the opportunity presents.

* When breeding, the birds usually group together and lay two eggs, which hatch within a month.

* The stronger of the two hatchlings if favoured by the mother, who feeds it regurgitated liquid and fish, and it usually begins to fly after three months.

* Mr Percival was one of three pelicans trained to appear in Storm Boy.

* After his 15 minutes of fame, he went to live at the Marineland Aquarium until in closed in 1988, then at Adelaide Zoo, where he was known as Gringo and died of old age in 2009, aged 33.

* Despite suffering from arthritis, Mr Percival proved himself to be a virile old bird, fathering seven chicks with his partner Alto at to zoo, the last in 2007.

 

Storm Boy, 24 Apr - 17 May 2015, Wharf 1 Theatre

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