( Leviticus 11:17 ; Deuteronomy 14:17 ), Heb. shalak, "plunging," or "darting down," (the Phalacrocorax carbo), ranked among the "unclean" birds; of the same family group as the pelican. It is a "plunging" bird, and is common on the coasts and the island seas of Palestine. 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 Palestine 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 , Zephaniah 2:14 (but in RSV, "pelican") the Hebrew word rendered by this name is ka'ath . It is translated "pelican" (q.v.) in Psalms 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. (See PELICAN .)
the representative in the Authorized Version of the Hebrew words kaath and shalac . As to the former, see PELICAN. Shalac occurs only as the name of an unclean bird in ( Leviticus 11:17 ; 14:17 ) The word has been variously rendered. The etymology points to some plunging bird. The common cormorant (phalacrocorax carbo ), which some writers have identified with the shalac , is unknown in the eastern Mediterranean; another species is found south of the Red Sea, but none on the west coast of Palestine.
kor'-mo-rant (shalakh; kataraktes; Latin Corvus marinus):
A large sea-fowl belonging to the genus Phalacrocorax and well described by the Hebrew word used to designate it--which means a "plunging bird." The bird appears as large as a goose when in full feather, but plucked, the body is much smaller. The adult birds are glossy black with bronze tints, touched with white on the cheeks and sides as a festal dress at mating season, and adorned with filamentary feathers on the head, and bright yellow gape. These birds if taken young and carefully trained can be sent into the water from boats and bring to their masters large quantities of good-sized fish: commonly so used in China. The flesh is dark, tough and quite unfit to eat in the elders on account of their diet of fish. The nest is built mostly of seaweed. The eggs are small for the size of the birds, having a rough, thick, but rather soft shell of a bluish white which soon becomes soiled, as well as the nest and its immediate surroundings, from the habits of the birds. The young are leathery black, then covered with soft down of brownish black above and white beneath and taking on the full black of the grown bird at about three years. If taken in the squab state the young are said to be delicious food, resembling baked hare in flavor. The old birds are mentioned among the abominations for food (Leviticus 11:13-19; Deuteronomy 14:12-18).
These files are public domain.