American White Pelican

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Order

PELECANIFORMES

Family

Pelicans (Pelecanidae)

Code 4

AWPE

Code 6

PELERY

ITIS

  • wgba_banner
  • ibird_banner
  • journal_banner
1 2 3

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The American White Pelican has a very large range and is primarily native to countries such as Canada, the United States, Cuba, the Cayman Island, Mexico, Panama and Puerto Rico. There have also been reports of the American White Pelican in Belize, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands. Population trend is increasing for this species so it is evaluated as Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

American White Pelican: Huge, white seabird, enormous outstretched wings show black primaries, outer secondaries in flight. Bill, legs are bright orange, upper bill develops a fibrous keel during breeding season. Slow, deep wing beats. Soars high on thermals. Flies in straight line or V formation.


Range and Habitat

American White Pelican: Breeds from Alberta and Saskatchewan south to northern California, Utah, and Colorado; also breeds along the Gulf Coast in southern Texas and northern Mexico. Spends winters in the southern U.S. in California, Arizona, and the Gulf Coast states south to Panama. Preferred habitats include shallow lakes and coastal lagoons.

whatbird search for your browser

SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"croak, croak, croak"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • American White Pelicans are one of the largest of the boreal birds. They can weigh as much as 30 pounds and their wing spans can exceed nine feet.
  • Because of pesticides, human disturbance, and the draining of wetlands, this species is in decline. The number of active colonies has dropped sharply in recent decades.
  • The bill can hold 3 gallons of water, and after the fish have been caught the bill is pointed downward allowing the water to drain, and then the bill is raised and the bird swallows.
  • A group of pelicans has many collective nouns, including a "brief", "pod", "pouch", "scoop", and "squadron" of pelicans.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for American White Pelican

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

.
Outer secondariesX
The outer secondaries are the secondary feathers of the wing furthest away from the body.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
SecondariesX
Flight feathers that are attached to the wing in the area similar to the human forearm and between the body and the primaries.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X