Great White Pelican ( Pelecanus onocrotalus )
Great White Pelican - Great White Pelican information - Great White Pelican facts
The Great White Pelican is distributed in southern parts of Europe and Asia and all around Africa except for its northern and central part. It is a migratory animal in northern areas. Breeding takes place in Europe while over-wintering takes place in Africa. Flocks of pelicans come down to the Danube Delta from March and leave by November. Approximately seven thousands of pelicans take this journey. They inhabit freshwater and brackish lakes. They live in nests, which are made of vegetation and situated on the ground. The hens lay up to two chalky white eggs, that are rather big.
Pelecanus onocrotalus is a huge animal measuring 160 cm (62 inches) in size. The males are larger than the females. The upper part of the bill is slightly dark whereas the lower part looks like a pouch and is yellow. The bill is enormous big and is used for catching predominantly fish, but also small invertebrates etc. The plumage is overall whitish with black edges around the wings. The chest and the throat may have pinkish or yellowish coloration depending on the breeding season and the sex of the pelican. Toes are fully webbed.
As already mentioned their diet consists mainly from fish. Each pelican needs about 1.2 kg (2.6 lb.) of fish every day. On Tanzania’s Lake Rukwa, there is the largest colony of pelicans (over 80 000 birds) – and it needs 35 million kilograms of fish every year. Furthermore, pelicans are very vulnerable to pollution. Because of overfishing in certain areas, they are forced to fly long distances just to find enough of food.