National Geographic : 1975 Jan
Superbeak does its stuff in some of the most extraordinary pelican photographs ever published. Less than a second after breaking the surface, a pair of feathered Pinocchios (left) scramble for a frozen bait fish released under water by the cameraman. The winner (below) suffers a jab in the pouch from its competitor. Bad timing costs a pelican its prize (right). In these first color pictures show ing a fully distended pouch underwater, the expandable dipper swells a foot deep, scooping in fish and 21/2 gallons of water. Strong muscles snap the mandibles closed. Then the bird tilts its bill down ward to drain the water, lifts its head, and swallows the fish.