American White Pelican

The American White Pelican is a large white water bird with black wing tips. It has a large orange-yellow bill with a pouch used for feeding.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
15-20 Years
SIZE
50-65 ” | 9.8-19.8 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Priority Species
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Non-Game
GAME TYPE
None
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

American White Pelicans will feed in shallow marshes or along the edges of freshwater bodies. They will typically nest on an isolated island or peninsula in freshwater lakes

  • Lakes and reservoirs
  • Marsh

Threats

  • Disease
  • Habitat Degradation
  • Habitat Loss

Natural History

American White Pelicans primarily consume small fish, but are also known to eat crustaceans and amphibians. Groups of pelicans may come together to feed cooperatively, “corralling” fish together to take turns scooping up. Sometimes, they will take prey from other birds. During the breeding season, both the male and female will use their beaks to scoop up dirt in order to form a nest. Throughout the breeding season, both males and females develop a bump on the top of their beaks, which is shed at the end of the season. Once born, chicks will spend up to a month with their parents, but then separate and join other groups just before migrating back to their wintering grounds.

Fun Facts

Anaho Island, located at Pyramid Lake, Nevada, supports one of the highest breeding colonies of American White Pelicans in the western United States.