Great White Pelican

Scientific Name:
Pelecanus onocrotalus
Sub-Saharan Africa
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About the Great White Pelican

The Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) is a large water bird found in parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia.


Great White Pelicans are typically found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including lakes, rivers, marshes, estuaries, and coastal lagoons. They prefer shallow, freshwater or brackish water bodies where they can feed on fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic prey. These pelicans are often seen in both natural and human-modified environments, including wetlands, reservoirs, and harbors.


Great White Pelicans are large birds, measuring approximately 140 to 180 centimeters (55 to 71 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 2.3 to 3.6 meters (7.5 to 11.8 feet). They have a bulky body with a long, broad bill, a long neck, and a distinctive large throat pouch used for catching and storing fish. Their plumage is predominantly white, with black flight feathers on the wings and a pale yellowish crest on the back of the head during the breeding season. Best Viewing The best places to view Great White Pelicans are in wetland habitats and water bodies within their range. Look for them in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas where they are commonly found feeding and roosting. These pelicans are often seen swimming or floating on the water's surface, occasionally diving or plunge-diving to catch fish.