What’s the Difference between Pelicans: Dalmatian, Australian, Great White, and Pink-Backed?

Pelicans are large white, water birds with long beaks and a large throat pouch.

The Dalmation Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) lives in the Northern Hemisphere, from south-eastern Europe to India and China. It has dirty-grey feathers, with curly feathers on its neck, a pale pink beak with a pale-yellow pouch, pale blue eyes with a white eye-ring, and grey legs. It is the largest pelican. It is 1.6-1.8 metres (4.6-5.7 feet) long with a wingspan of 2.7-3.2 metres (8.9-10.5 feet).

The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) lives in the Southern Hemisphere, in Australian and some surrounding islands, such as Fiji. It has neat features with distinctly black back feathers, a pink beak with a pink pouch, and black eyes with a yellow eye-ring. It is 1.6-1.9 metres (5.2-6.2 feet) long with a wingspan of 2.5-3.4 metres (8.2-11.2 feet).

Dalmatian and Australian Pelican

The Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) lives in the Mediterranean and in Africa (eastern and southern Africa). It has grey back feathers, a pink beak with yellow pouch, dark eyes with a white eye-ring, and pink legs. It is 1.4-1.8 metres (4.6-5.7 feet) long with a wingspan of 2.5-3.0 metres (8.0-9.7 feet).

The Pink-Backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens) lives in Africa and southwestern Arabia. It has scruffy grey and white feathers on its back (sometimes pinkish), a yellow beak with a grey pouch, dark eyes with a white eye-ring, and pink legs. It is 1.3 metres (4 feet) long with a wingspan of 2.7-2.9 metres (8.7-9.5 feet).

Great White and Pink-Backed Pelican

Dalmatian Pelican

Dalmatian Pelican

Dalmatian

Dalmatian Pelican

Australian Pelican

Australian Pelican

Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican 

Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican

Pink-Backed Pelican

Pink-Backed Pelican

Pink-Backed Pelican

Pink-Backed Pelican 

 

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

 

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