The White Pelican is a large waterfowl that can be found in southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, and Africa. They are all white in color and measure between 140-175 cm in length.
They have a stocky and obese body shape with a slender neck, a long and straight blue beak, and orange skin under it. The head has a tuft of long white crown feathers and the breast has a tuft of long yellow lanceolate feathers.
Their wings are white and they have dark brown primary and secondary feathers. They are pinkish-yellow in color on the head, neck, and crown feathers and have flesh-colored feet.
White pelicans are known for their strong and leisurely flight, good swimming abilities, and ability to walk well on the ground. They live in groups and can be found in coastal areas, rivers, lakes, and swamps.
They feed mainly on fish and catch them by diving directly into the water from high above. They are gregarious and live in coastal areas, swamps, and large bodies of water. They are known for their group coordination while hunting and use it to maneuver fish into shallow waters.
White pelicans are migratory birds and fly to different areas depending on the season. In the Americas, they fly from their nests in the Great Plains and Great Basin to the Gulf Coast, California, and Mexico for the winter.
In the middle of the continent, they fly high along the Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Red rivers. These migrations can be quite spectacular, with large flocks of pelicans flying in formation.
White pelicans are considered to be vulnerable in Serbia, Montenegro, and Sri Lanka, and are extinct in Hungary. They prefer warm waters and can be found in southern Europe, most of Africa, and central and southern Asia, as well as occasionally in other parts of Europe, northwest Africa, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
The White Pelican's hunting technique is an interesting one to observe. Once they spot a shoal of fish, they swarm around it and flap their wings to make the fish panic.
They maneuver the fish into shallow waters where they cannot escape, and then the pelican catches the fish by diving into the water. They use their throat pouch to squeeze out the water before swallowing the fish. They also bring larger fish to shore to eat them, so they do not escape.
White pelicans are also known to be social birds, they often live in colonies and form large groups. They engage in various social behaviors such as preening, bill clapping, and head nodding.
These behaviors help to strengthen bonds among members of the colony and maintain social cohesion.
During the breeding season, White pelicans build large stick nests on islands or in shallow water, often in colonies. Females lay 1-4 eggs and both parents take turns incubating them for about a month. Once the eggs hatch, both parents take care of the chicks, feeding them regurgitated fish until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
The chicks fledge at about 8-10 weeks old but will stay with the colony for several more weeks before leaving to form their own colonies.
White pelicans are considered a vulnerable species in some regions, primarily due to habitat loss, pollution, and hunting. Some conservation efforts are in place to protect their breeding and wintering grounds, and to ensure that their populations remain stable.
In summary, White pelicans are large waterfowl known for their strong flight, good swimming abilities, and group coordination while hunting. They are social birds that live in colonies and engage in various social behaviors.
During the breeding season, they build large stick nests and both parents take care of the chicks until they are old enough to fend for themselves. White pelicans are considered vulnerable species in some regions and conservation efforts are being made to ensure their populations remain stable.