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American White Pelican

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Americans White Pelicans dwarf their cousin the Brown Pelican, with whom they sometimes congregate. They resemble flying boats in the air with their bulky white bodies, long orange bills and enormous wings edged above and below in black.

American White Pelican
PELICANUS ERYTHRORHYNCHOS
• Length: 62 inches
• Wingspan: 108 inches
• Season:Year-round
More about White Pelicans.
Where they are, and when.

White Pelicans usually feed cooperatively in small groups, swimming along and dipping their pouches into the water in sequence or in unison to scoop up fish. They sometimes maneuver fish into shallow water to make the catch easier in an activity referred to as a “fish drive”. Although often in the company of Brown Pelicans on the Texas coast, they spend more time in freshwater habitats than their cousins.

To keep their pouches flexible, they will sometimes stretch them by tucking their head down and turning it inside-out over their neck. They have an inconspicuous plate on the top of their bill that grows into a larger horn during breeding season.

White Pelicans nest in colonies on large inland lakes with their nests on bare ground or surrounded by a mound of dirt, brush and other vegetation. They usually lay two to three white eggs.

They’re permanent residents on the Texas Gulf Coast, but some populations summer on the lakes of the Great Plains and Mountain West.

About Scott Clark

I’m a digital journalist who’s worked as a photographer, reporter, producer and editor. My interest in the natural history of my surroundings reaches back to my early days beachcombing on the Jersey coast, rowing my boat on a quiet lake in Missouri and, more recently, discovering the mountains and backwoods of Montana, where I was born.

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