Hebrew: shalak, “plunging,” or “darting down,” (the Phalacrocorax carbo), listed among the “uncleanbirds; of the same family group as the pelican (Leviticus 11:17; Deuteronomy 14:17)

It is a “plunging” bird, and is common on the coasts and the island seas of Israel

Some think the Hebrew word should be rendered “gannet” (Sula bassana, “the solan goose”); others that it is the “tern” or “sea swallow,” which also frequents the coasts of Israel as well as the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan valley during several months of the year. But there is no reason to depart from the ordinary rendering.

In Isaiah 34:11, Zeph. 2:14 (but in Revised King James Version, “pelican”) the Hebrew word rendered by this name is ka'ath. It is translated “pelican” in Psalm 102:6. The word literally means the “vomiter,” and the pelican is so called from its vomiting the shells and other things which it has voraciously swallowed.

Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.

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