The Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) is a large freshwater waterbird.
The Dalmatian Pelican has mainly silvery-white feathers on its body, with curly feathers on the back of its head. It has a large orange-red lower mandible (jaw) and a yellow upper mandible, with a large pouch. It has yellow to purple-blue eye-rings.
It is the largest of all of the world’s species of pelicans. It is perhaps the world’s largest freshwater bird. It has a very large wingspan. It measures 160-183 centimetres (63-72 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 245-351 centimetres (96-138 inches). Its beak measures 36-45 centimetres (14-18 inches).
Although it is big and heavy, it flies gracefully. It flies in flocks of about 500 individuals, particularly when it migrates during winter to warmer locations.
The Dalmatian Pelican is native to southeastern Europe, Russia, India, and China. It migrates for short distances to the Mediterranean region, or to the central Middle East, southern India, and Sri Lanka. It lives in wetlands, in lakes, rivers, and estuaries.
It feeds on fish, such as carp, as well as eels and catfish. It usually feeds alone or in small groups. It swims along and then dives to catch fish underwater.
The Dalmatian Pelican nests in colonies near water. They build nests on the ground, that are made of grass, reeds, sticks and feathers. Females lay 1-6 eggs. Both parents look after the eggs. The eggs hatch after 30-34 days. The chicks are altricial – born naked without feathers. They gain all of their feathers after about 85 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM