Image Size: 12-3/4 x 7 ins. Paper Size: 16-1/4 x 10-1/2 ins.
Long thought to be related to frigate birds, cormorants, tropicbirds, gannets and boobies, pelicans instead are now known to be most closely related to the shoebill, and hamerkop, and are placed in the order Pelecaniformes. Ibises, spoonbills, herons and the desolate bitterns have been classified in the same order. Fossil evidence of pelicans dates back to at least 30 million years to the remains of a beak very similar to that of modern species recovered from WorldOligocene strata in France. They are thought to have evolved in the Old World and spread into the Americas; this is reflected in the relationships within the genus as the eight species divide into Old World and New World lineages.