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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

White Pelican

The White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) is a bird in the pelican family. This rather large pelican measures on average 160 cm in length and has a wingspan of 280 cm.

The White Pelican is known to breed across southeastern Europe through Asia. Suitable nesting locations include swamps and shallow lakes where they build crude nests of vegetation in a tree.

This bird differs from the Dalmatian Pelican by its pure white plumage. It has a bare pink facial patch around the eye as well as pinkish legs. Juveniles are grey and have dark flight feathers.

More than 50% of White Pelicans breed in the Danube Delta. This pelican migrates short distances, wintering in northeast Africa. In flight, it is an elegant soaring bird, with the neck is then held back like a heron’s.

Pelicans catch fish in their huge bill pouches, most, like this species, while swimming at the surface.

Like the Dalmatian Pelican, this species has declined greatly through habitat loss and persecution.

White Pelican