Great (Eastern) white pelican

A very large white bird that assumes a pinkish flush in the breeding season. In flight the black primaries and secondaries contrast with the white coverts. The orbital skin is pink, the bill pink and yellow and the pouch yellow. Larger than Pink-backed Pelican, which also has less strongly contrasting underwings in flight and outside breeding season, is greyer-coloured.
Juvenile is dark brown and whitens progressively with age.
Habitually fishes in groups on open, freshwater lakes. Also preys on eggs and young of gulls and cormorants. Frequents estuaries in the Western Cape, Namibia and Kwazulu Natal. Nests on the ground, usually on flat islands, in colonies.
They nest colonially on the gound. They lay two eggs, but the older chick kills the younger one, should it hatch.
Usually silent; a deep 'mooo' is given at breeding colonies.


(en) Great white pelican
(sc) Pelecanus onocrotalus
(nl) Roze pelikaan
(af) Witpelikaan