Eastern white pelican

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Animal File

Common Name:
Eastern white pelican
Scientific Name:
Pelecanus onocrotalus
Size: 175cm (length)
Weight: 5 - 15 kg
Native to Africa
Rivers and Lakes

Conservation Status

Least concern

Pelicans can be heavy and ungainly on land, but elegant and streamlined when swimming or flying. They are generally silent birds except during the mating season when they can be heard making a low, hoarse call. Two eggs are laid each year and the chicks plumage is very dark grey. This lightens to the distinctive white as they lose their baby feathers.

Pelicans can live for up to 30 years, but are often hunted for their meat, skin and feathers. Their swampy foraging habitat is gradually being lost to urbanisation, but they currently remain of “Least Concern” in their conservation status. In the zoo, the pelicans are fed on freshwater fish like roach and spend a great deal of time grooming their immaculate white feathers with their long beaks.

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