American White Pelican
American White Pelican: Huge, white seabird, enormous outstretched wings show black primaries, outer secondaries in flight. Bill, legs are bright orange, upper bill develops a fibrous keel during breeding season. Slow, deep wing beats. Soars high on thermals. Flies in straight line or V formation.
Range and Habitat
American White Pelican: Breeds from British Columbia and Mackenzie south to northern California, Utah, and Manitoba; also breeds along the Gulf Coast. Spends winters in the southern U.S. south to Panama. Preferred habitats include shallow lakes and coastal lagoons.
American White Pelicans are one of the largest of the boreal birds. They can weigh as much as 30 pounds and their wing spans can exceed nine feet.
Because of pesticides, human disturbance, and the draining of wetlands, this species is in decline. The number of active colonies has dropped sharply in recent decades.
The bill can hold 3 gallons of water, and after the fish have been caught the bill is pointed downward allowing the water to drain, and then the bill is raised and the bird swallows.
A group of pelicans has many collective nouns, including a "brief", "pod", "pouch", "scoop", and "squadron" of pelicans.