British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide
Description - The White Pelican is a huge bird
reaches heights of 55-70 inches. It is white with a long,
flat, bright orange bill and black tipped wings. During
the breeding season a short, yellowish crest appears on
the back of the head and a horny plate appears on the
Distribution - Breeding white pelicans are found from
Mackenzie, British Columbia south to northern California.
Wintering grounds are from central California, the Gulf
Coast, and Florida south to Panama. They prefer shallow
lakes to coastal lagoons.
Biology - White pelicans are gregarious, usually travelling
in flocks and nesting in colonies. 1-6 white eggs can
be found on a low mound of earth and debris. Pelicans
do not dive for food but cooperate to surround fish in
shallow water where they scoop them into their pouches.
In recent decades the number of white pelicans has dropped
drastically because of the use of pesticides, human disturbance
and the draining of wetlands.