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 American white pelican

Scientific name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Habitat: summers - inland lakes; winters - coastal areas

Diet: suckers, carp, minnows, salamanders, crayfish, chub

Life span:  15-25 years in wild

Young: 1-3 eggs/clutch (usually 2)

Size: 5-9 kg (14-20 lbs)

American white pelicans are social birds, living and hunting in colonies. They ride on top of the water in groups to trap schools of fish, scooping their pouches into the water like fish nets. Pelicans do not store fish in their pouches; once the fish is caught the bird tips its head back and allows the water to drain out, then swallows the fish.

During breeding season a nuptial tubercle (vertical plate) grows on the top bill which is believed to be a mating display.

Learn more about this species:

These are some other websites that we think have more great information about this species.

American white pelican on Animal Diversity Web


Range: North America

Status in the Wild

Status: thriving

For More Information

Edmonton Valley Zoo

13315 Buena Vista Road (87th Avenue)
PO Box 2359
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2R7


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