Spot-Billed Pelican

The Spot-Billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) is a large freshwater waterbird. It is also called the Grey Pelican.

The Spot-Billed Pelican is mainly white, with a grey crest and grey back of neck. It has a brownish tail. The feathers on the back of its neck are curly. Its pouch is pinkish-purple with large pale spots. It is also spotted on the sides of its upper mandible (jaw). It has a yellow-orange tip on its beak. It looks similar to the Dalmatian Pelican.

Spot-Billed Pelican

Spot-Billed Pelican


It is one of the smallest pelican species, but it is large in comparison with other birds. It grows to about 152 centimetres (60 inches) tall.

The Spot-Billed Pelican is from Asia. It lives in wetlands, such as inland lakes, coastal waters, and lagoons.

It is not migratory. Small flocks fly in formation, but they do not travel far from their residential home.

The Spot-Billed Pelican feeds on fish. It does not form large feeding flocks like the Great White Pelican from Africa. It prefers to look for food in small groups or alone.

It breeds in colonies, with other wetlands birds. The nests are in low trees near water, and are made of twigs. Females lay 3-4 white eggs, which hatch after 30-33 days. The chicks are precocial, because they are covered in white down feathers (instead of being featherless at birth). The chicks stay in the nest for 3-5 months.


Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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