Pelecanidae – Pelicans

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) by Mike Bader

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) by Mike Bader

And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, (Deuteronomy 14:17 KJV)

CLASS – AVES, Order – PELECANIFORMES, Family – Pelecanidae – Pelicans

*100 Percent of Photos
Latest I.O.C. Version
Species (8)

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)
Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens)
Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)
Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus)


On the photos or slides, a “by” indicates one of the photographers or videographers, who have given their permission, with links on our sidebar. Please visit their site to see many more fantastic shots, a “©©” copyright symbol indicates a photo from Creative Commons and ©WikiC is a Creative Commons photo from Wikipedia.

Photographers or Videographers used on this page from our sidebar, Photography, are:
Ian Montgomery’s Birdway
Ray’s Wildlife Photography

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The video was shot at Circle B Bar Reserve in Jan 2011. There is 4,000 spending some winter time there this year. That is me and Dan yapping away. I am totally overwhelmed. They were landing right behind us and were actually about 30-40 feet over our heads.


Pelicans are a genus of large water birds comprising the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and large throat pouch used in catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the Brown and Peruvian Pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean.

Pelicans are very large birds with very long bills characterised by a downcurved hook at the end of the upper mandible, and the attachment of a huge gular pouch to the lower. The slender rami of the lower bill and the flexible tongue muscles form the pouch into a basket for catching fish and, sometimes, rainwater, though in order not to hinder the swallowing of large fish, the tongue itself is tiny. They have a long neck and short stout legs with large, fully webbed feet. Although they are among the heaviest of flying birds, they are relatively light for their apparent bulk because of air pockets in the skeleton and beneath the skin enabling them to float high in the water. The tail is short and square. The wings are long and broad, suitably shaped for soaring and gliding flight, and have the unusually large number of 30 to 35 secondary flight feathers.

Males are generally larger than females and have longer bills. The smallest species is the Brown Pelican and the largest is believed to be the Dalmatian Pelican, (Wikipedia)

Some of the Family – Photos are Alphabetical down the columns:

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