This is just about the biggest pelican and they are really massive birds - wing spans go up to more than 3.5 metres! They are basically white birds with dark wing feathers and yellow bill (and pouch). The youngsters are a spotted brown.
These birds migratory in the North but the tropical populations are probably sedentary. European populations are found in Greece and Rumania and there are colonies in Turkey and Senegal as well as elsewhere in Africa. The birds often feed communally with fish shoals being driven into a restricted area by a group of birds in a semi-circle. Migrants use thermals to cover long distances efficiently.
One of six species of pelicans - tropical or sub-tropical.
Length 1,600 mm Closed wing 650 mm Weight 10,000 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead