The pelican is a marine bird, which in medieval legend would revive its dead young with blood from its own breast. Its most common posture is thus blazoned a “pelican in its piety”: wings addorsed, piercing its breast with its beak to feed its young. (The posture is also sometimes blazoned a “pelican vulning itself”, particularly if no hatchlings are depicted.)
Period depictions of this bird do not show it as found in nature, with a baggy-bottomed beak, but with a long slender beak resembling that of a stork, and with ruffled feathers.
The pelican was used in the canting arms of Pelham as early as 1386 [DBA2 177]. In Society armory, the pelican is reserved to the Order of Peerage of the same name, and its members.
The Order of the Pelican bears: A pelican in its piety.
Dorio of the Oaks bears: Azure, a chevron ployé cotised and in base a pelican in its piety argent.