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Pelican Package Pouch

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"A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican!"
Dixon Lanier Merritt

Pelican Package Pouch is when a pelican uses its huge natural throat pouch to carry and hide objects or small creatures. It makes sense in a way, as animals usually don't have Body Pockets, so having a pelican in the scene could provide the quick hiding spot you are looking for in tense moments, working as a living safe. If the pelican is on your side, it could even potentially carry the item to someone without the bad guys noticing. It is not a rare sight either to see in fiction the pelican's pouch being always filled with water, sometime even with some fishes living in there.

The trope somehow evolved over time from "pelican delivers an item hidden in its beak" to "pelicans are delivery birds". Even though it evolved so much that Pelican Posties do not necessarily use their pouch anymore, trading it for an actual and much more handy postbag, the animal is still often associated with mail delivery, at least in cartoons.

Careful though, it is not recommended to reproduce this trope in real-life as the pouch is not resistant enough to hold more than 3 gallons of water (which is still pretty impressive), not even counting the fact that the bird wouldn't be strong enough to fly. Some light letters and packages? That might still be okay. A fully grown adult? Forget your dreams of personal airplane! Besides, pelicans don't actually store anything in their pouches, as they immediately spit the water and swallow the fishes after catching them.

Compare Beak Attack, Kangaroo Pouch Ride, and Treasure Chest Cavity. For the "postal" side of the trope, compare Instant Messenger Pigeon, Flying Postman, and Delivery Stork.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series: Pelipper, being based on the pelican of course, naturally fits into this stereotype and actually showcase the evolution of the pouch from hiding stuff to be delivery service.
    • In Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, a trainer cheats by stuffing his Pelipper's bill with several Poké Balls, allowing the water bird to perform attacks he shouldn't be able to like Flamethrower (actually a Magby), Vine Whip (actually a Bellsprout), or Thunderbolt (actually a Magnemite), sometimes even at the same time.
    • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, a Pelipper is used as a Ride Pokémon, with Ash on its back, and Rowlet and RotomDex riding in its beak pouch.
    • In Pokémon Journeys: The Series, a Pelipper owned by Team Rocket transports the Rocket Prize Master anywhere, carrying the machine in its beak.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Animal Planet and Doraemon: Nobita and the Winged Braves portray humanoid pelicans as postmen, with their letters in their pouches.
  • In Tokyo Metropolitan Magic Technical School (a pilot/prequel to Jujutsu Kaisen) Geto Suguru arrives to the school to declare war on the sorcerers with a giant pelican-shaped curse carrying his entourage in its beak.

    Comic Books 
  • A couple of pages from Gotlib's Rubrique-à-brac are dedicated to the pelican and contain a ton of jokes about the pouch. The first panel presents a "sample" of pelicans, including a "joke pelican" with a Jack-in-the-Box, a baby pelican with its pouch looking like a bib, and a mama pelican carrying a smaller pelican carrying an even smaller pelican etc. The arc ends with the anchor trying to get a pelican to show its thrilling squawk; annoyed, the pelican ends up spitting dozens of fish and yells at the anchor:
    Pelican: Don't you know that a polite pelican never squawks with a mouth full?!
  • Abraham Tuizentfloot from the Flemish comic series Nero flies around in the pouch of his pet pelican Filemon in "Het Wonderwolkje".
  • The Danish comic series Rasmus Klump (known as "Petzi" in France and Germany) features Pelle, a Pelican who helps his friends by providing various tools that he keeps in his seemingly Hyperspace Arsenal beak.

  • In The N'awlins Connection the head of the École de Magie du Grand Bayou uses a pelican to deliver a message to Dumbledore and Minister Fudge as a way of making a statement.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the "Kiss the Girl" number from The Little Mermaid (1989), fishes pop out of pelicans' beaks to sing backup.
  • In Finding Nemo, Nigel uses his pouch to carry Marlin and Dory to meet Nemo, while fleeing from a bunch of hungry seagulls.
    Nigel: Hop inside my mouth if you want to live.
    Marlin: And how does that make me live?!
  • In Dragon and Slipper, a messenger pelican delivers the Love Potion from the wizard Merlin to Queen Guinevra.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit features a pelican postman, who falls off his bicycle as Eddie is exiting Maroon Studios. Although he doesn't use its pouch to carry mail, you can see a fish peeking out just before he falls.

  • Roald Dahl's story The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me features Pelly the Pelican who at one point catches a thief in its beak; the burglar then tries to free himself by shooting at the beak and makes several bullet holes in it (Pelly ends up fine, don't worry).

    Video Games 
  • In the Animal Crossing franchise, there are several pelicans working at the post office. Pete delivers the mail by the air while the pelican sisters Phyllis and Pelly run the office.
  • In Octogeddon, the Pelican tentacle can swallow up enemies and store them in its beak before shooting them away.
  • In the Halo series, the UNSC sort-of invokes this trope. Their main dropship is called the Pelican, and it can deliver troops, supplies, or even Scorpion tanks! It can also serve as a gunship, as it is armed with a 70mm autocannon and can be equipped with missile launchers or a Spartan Laser to dish out Death from Above.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pelipper is a pelican described in the Pokedex as "a flying transporter that carries small Pokemon and eggs to safety in its bill", and is sometime nicknamed the "messenger of the skies". Additionally, you can use one to ferry you about both in the air and the seas by teaching it the Fly and/or Surf HM, though this is a subversion as the animations for this present you as riding on its back rather than in its beak.
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon sub-series, the Pelippers are delivering the rescue missions directly to the player's house. They also have a Post Office shaped like a giant Pelipper where the player can receive SOS messages from other players in difficulty.
  • Amelette the Pelican from Legend of Mana is the enthusiastic, yet ditzy and stubborn mail carrier of the world of Fa'Diel. She is partially shaped like a Japanese mailbox, her pouch looking like a red mailbag with even the Japanese postal mark "〒" on it.
  • In The Flintstones: The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy, the bonus rounds involve Fred Flintstone playing basketball against a rival caveman. The pelicans' pouches take the places of the basketball hoops, and after the basketball is tossed in their pouches, they spit it back out.
  • The pelican in Animal Soccer World by Dingo Pictures. He uses it first to pass out flyers for the soccer game and second to catch the ball by accident when it's kicked off-field.

    Web Original 
  • "Pelican Mouth! Perfect size for put baby in to nap inside!"
  • Serina's pelecanaries (flightless marine canaries) did evolve pelican-like bills and pouches for the express purpose of carrying things, namely their eggs, allowing them to completely cut ties with the land and become fully aquatic.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In the Mickey Mouse short "Tugboat Mickey", Mickey is waxing the mast of his boat when a sleepy pelican accidentally swallows the bucket of wax and gets severely intoxicated. For a short time, Mickey is still painting the boat without even noticing that the bucket is inside the yawning bird.
    • In the Donald Duck short "Lighthouse Keeping", Marblehead the pelican traps Donald in his beak several times. The first time he throws him out the lighthouse, and the second time Donald lights a fire inside the pouch to make him spit him.
    • In "The Pelican and the Snipe", Vidi the snipe ends up at least once in the pouch of somnambulist Monte the pelican. In a rare variation of the trope, he uses at one point the pouch of his friend as an Improvised Parachute.
  • House of Mouse: In the short "Mickey's Airplane Kit", Mickey gets his kit from a pelican postman who keeps it in his bill. A fish comes out of it to deliver the package to Mickey, then the pelican swallows it back.
  • In Legend of the Three Caballeros, an anthropomorphic postman pelican delivers the Unexpected Inheritance letter to Donald, although he doesn't use his pouch at all and it is even way smaller (and realistically proportioned) than the usual size displayed in most cartoons.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons episode "Missionary Impossible". Homer believes that things work like on The Flintstones and tries to use a pelican like a cement mixer; the pelican falls over dead.
  • Parodied in a Family Guy Cutaway Gag, where Barney Rubble uses a pelican as a toilet.
    Pelican: You think you've got a crap job...
  • One episode of Shaun the Sheep had a pelican who enters the farmhouse in search for fish to eat. The Farmer, having lemon juices accidentally squirted into his eyes, mistakenly tosses the squeezed lemon halves into the pelican's bill instead of the waste bucket, much to the bird's disgust.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, a pelican has a lucrative job catching fish for a local fishmonger. He catches Spunky, and Rocko has to buy his dog back.
  • The Dingo Pictures mockbuster Animal Soccer World has a pelican airdropping leaflets for the upcoming soccer match.

    Real Life 
  • Pelicans will often use their pouches to carry food back to the nest for their babies. That's about as real as this trope can get, though.