Pink-backed Pelican ( Pelecanus rufescens, family: Pelecanidae)

pink backed pelican kruger national park birds The Pink-backed Pelican (Latin name Pelecanus rufescens) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 50 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 615 also a picture of the Pink-backed Pelican on page 576. The Pink-backed Pelican belongs to the family of birds classified as Pelecanidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Pink-backed Pelican is also known by these other names: Grey 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 Pink-backed Pelican is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Pink-backed Pelican in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Pink-backed 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 Pink-backed Pelican is a large bird very much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the Pink-backed Pelican is about 125 cms and its weight is about 6000 gms

The male and female Pink-backed Pelican have the same plumage and colours

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

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Pink-backed Pelican feeds in or around water mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Pink-backed Pelican is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Pelecanus rufescens will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Pink-backed 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 Pink-backed Pelican are: wetlands and riverine areas

You will normally see the Pink-backed Pelican in flocks.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... iFuba/iVuba

Afrikaans ...Kleinpelikaan

German ... Rtelpelikan

Portuguese ... Pelicano-cinzento

French ... Plican gris

Dutch ... Kleine Pelikaan, Roodrugpelikaan

First bird in list | Previous bird viewed | Next KNP bird | Last bird in list

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

Robert's 7th edition number ... 50

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 ,