I am like a pelican of the wilderness
It may be so called, to distinguish it from another of the same name that lives upon the waters; which has the name of "pelican" in the Greek tongue, as is said, from its smiting and piercing its breast, and letting out blood for the reviving of its young; and in the Hebrew language, from its vomiting shell fish it has swallowed down; (See Gill on Leviticus 11:18) where the word is rendered a "pelican" as here, and in ( Deuteronomy 14:17 ) , the same we call the "shovelard"; but a "cormorant" in ( Isaiah 34:11 ) ( Zephaniah 2:14 ) , however, it seems to be a bird of solitude, and therefore the psalmist compares himself to it. According to Isidore F7, it is an Egyptian bird, that inhabits the desert of the river Nile, from whence it has the name of Canopus Aegyptus:
I am like an owl of the desert;
or "of desert places"; so the Tigurine version; it is translated "the little owl" in ( Leviticus 11:17 ) ( Deuteronomy 14:16 ) . It delights to be on old walls, and in ruined houses, and cares not to consort with other birds, and it makes a hideous sorrowful noise F8. Jarchi renders it the hawk, but that, as Kimchi F9 observes, is found in habitable places. Bochart F11 thinks the "onocrotalos" is meant, a bird so much of the same kind with the pelican, that they are promiscuously used by learned men; and which is a creature, as Jerom
F12 says, that is used to dwell in desert places; and Isidore F13 observes, that there are two sorts of them, one that lives in the water, and another in the desert; it has its name from its braying like an ass; and Aelianus F14 speaks of a bird of this sort in India, which has a large crop like a sack; and the Hebrew word "cos" here used signifies a cup or vessel, from whence it may have its name; and which he says makes a very disagreeable noise, to which the psalmist may compare the voice of his groaning, ( Psalms 102:5 ) .
F7 Origin. l. 12. c. 7.
F8 "Solaque culminibus ferali carmine Bubo, saepe queri----", Virgil. Aeneid. 4.
F9 Sepher Shorash. rad. (owk) .
F11 Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2. c. 20. col. 275, 276.
F12 Comment. in Esaiam, c. 34. fol. 64. A.
F13 Ut supra. (Origin. l. 12. c. 7.)
F14 De Animal. l. 16. c. 4.