Great White Pelican ( Pelecanus onocrotalus, family: Pelecanidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called White Pelican

great white pelican kruger national park birds The Great White Pelican (Latin name Pelecanus onocrotalus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 49 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 614 also a picture of the Great White Pelican on page 576. The Great White Pelican belongs to the family of birds classified as Pelecanidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Great White Pelican is also known by these other names: Eastern White Pelican.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Great White Pelican was called the White Pelican

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Great White Pelican is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a resident

In terms of distribution of the Great White Pelican in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Great White Pelican : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Great White Pelican is a large bird very much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the Great White Pelican is about 140 cms and its weight is about 11000 gms

The male and female Great White Pelican have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is white.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is yellow.
  • Throat is grey.
  • Back is white.
  • Legs are yellow.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Great White Pelican feeds in or around water mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Great White Pelican is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Pelecanus onocrotalus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Great White Pelican is to create the nest on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 to 4

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Great White Pelican are: wetlands and riverine areas

You will normally see the Great White Pelican in flocks.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ingcwanguba

Zulu ... iFuba/iKhungula/iVuba

Afrikaans ...Witpelikaan

German ... Rosapelikan

Portuguese ... Pelicano-branco

French ... Plican blanc

Dutch ... Roze Pelikaan

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 49

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,