American White Pelican
Range/Geographical Distribution: Breeds from British Columbia south to northern California, Utah, and Manitoba, and along Texas. White pelicans spend their winters in Central California, Florida, and Georgia, south to Panama.
Habitat: Forages amongst inland marshes, lakes, and ponds. During non-breeding times it favors warm coastal or estuarine environments.
Similar Species: Brown pelican.
Description: Large white bird with black tips on its wings. During breeding season, it has a yellow crest on its head.
Size: Length: 50-65” Wingspan: 96-114” Weight: 4500-9000g
Food: Feeds mainly on fish. It will also eat salamanders, tadpoles, and crayfish.
Breeding: Lays up to six whitish eggs on a low mound of earth and debris on a marshy island.
Predators: Humans are the main predator of American white pelicans. Eggs and chicks will fall prey to gulls.
Conservation Status: Listed as least concern by IUCN. It is a species of concern in California, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and British Columbia due to habitat loss and human interference.
Interesting Facts: American white pelicans often catch fish cooperatively by driving their prey into shallow waters by beating their wings. They take in both water and fish and then hold their bills vertically to drain the water before swallowing their prey.
On the Coast: The American white pelican spends its winter months along the coast of Georgia. These graceful birds can be seen soaring in a line along the shore or floating on the surface of the water.