Linn?us united under the common title of Pelicans, the Cormorants, the Boobies, and several other birds, which differ from the typical species of the genus by many important characters, the chief point of agreement between them consisting in the form and extent of the membrane which unites the toes. The Linnean group has subsequently been raised to the rank of a family, and its component parts form several distinct genera, that which comprehends the true Pelicans, the genus Onocrotalus of Brisson, being characterized as follows. Their bill is of very great length, straight, broad, flattened above, and terminated by a slight hook; the lower mandible consists of two lateral branches, united at the point, and having interposed between them a membranous pouch capable of very great dilatation; their four toes are all enveloped to the very apex in the common membrane; their legs are short, strong, and maintain the body in a state of equilibrium, their lower part being entirely destitute of feathers.
Two male individuals of this breed are now exhibiting at the Tower: the one whose portrait illustrates the present article, and who, although scarcely more than two years and a half old, already rivals his adult Asiatic neighbour in size and majesty, while he exceeds him in grace and agility; and a second, of about ten months old, apparently belonging to the pale variety, and who is just beginning to exhibit the first faint outline of the mane. The former of these is remarkably beautiful and docile: he became an inmate of the Tower in May, 1827; and was, during his voyage from the Cape, being then very young, so tame and domesticated as to be allowed to run about the deck like a dog.