Everything about Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican

• It is a bird in the pelican family.

• It is also known as the eastern white pelican, rosy pelican or white pelican.

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Geographic distribution

• It is mainly found in southeastern Europe, Asia and Africa.


• Northern populations of this species are fully migratory and travel via important stop-over sites. Other populations are sedentary, dispersive or nomadic, flying over land to seek suitable feeding locations.

• The species nests in large colonies of 200 to 40,000 pairs.

• It usually fishes in flocks of 8-12 individuals and migrates in large flocks of 50-500 individuals. The species regularly flies long distances from breeding or roosting colonies to feed, mostly fishing in the early-morning and early-evening.


• The species is associated with relatively large, warm, shallow fresh, brackish, alkaline or saline lakes, lagoons, marshes, broad rivers, deltas, estuaries and coasts of landlocked seas.

• The species requires secure areas of extensive wet swamps, mudflats and sandbanks or gravel and rocky substrates for nesting.


• The species is entirely piscivorous, preferentially taking fish of between 300 and 600 g in weight.


The species is threatened by:

1 Habitat destruction through drainage

2 Divergence of rivers for irrigation, agriculture development and industry

3 Floods leading to the inundation of nesting sites

4 Persecution

5 Hunting for sport because of its (minimal) depredation of fish from fish-farms

6 Collisions with electric power lines during migration

7 Pesticides

8 Heavy metal contamination

Conservation Actions

The species is listed under:

• Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species

• Appendix II of the Bern Convention

• Annex I of the Birds Directive

• In its European range, it occurs within 43 Important Bird Areas.

• In the EU, it is listed within 108 Special Protection Areas.

• It has been rated as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red list of Endangered Species.

• It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds is applied.