Pelicans are large aquatic birds with a scoop like bill that is used to filter their food from the water. There are 8 living species of pelicans and they are found from tropical to temperate regions. Pelicans most commonly have pale feathers, but a number of species are darker in color. They do not have any feathers on their face, bill or legs and these areas change color during breeding seasons. Pelicans often hunt in groups and live in colonies. Let’s take a look at the habitat and distribution of these large birds.
Where do pelicans live?
Pelicans usually inhabit warm salt and fresh water. As with most animals, different species of pelican live in different areas of the world.
The Brown Pelican is a small pelican that inhabits the Americas. It is one of the most commonly sighted ocean bird in this region. It lives along both coasts of the Americas from Nova Scotia to Venezuela and from British Columbia to south central Chile, including the Galapagos Islands. They are not found south of the Amazon River. A large population of these birds live in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Peruvian Pelican is another species of pelican that inhabit the Americas. It inhabits the west coast of South America from Lobos de Tierra Island in Peru to Pupuya Islet in Chile. It is a dark colored bird with a white stripe across its forehead. This species of pelican is larger than the Brown Pelican.
The American White Pelican is a large pelican with white plumage and dark wing tips. This pelican breeds in inner North America but can also be found in the south of this region and along the coast.
The Great White Pelican is also called by other names such as the Eastern White Pelican, Rosy pelican or white pelican. These pelicans are often found in warm fresh water. They inhabit areas of Africa, Asia and Europe. They live primarily in the lakes of Africa with a migratory route across Eastern Europe to Kazakhstan. Others of this species live and breed in the Dante River in Romania. Many Great White Pelicans spend the winter in Pakistan.
The Pink-backed Pelican is a distinctive member of the pelican family with its pink plumage. This species inhabits all of Africa and into the southern Arabian Peninsula. This pelican prefers freshwater lakes and large slow-flowing rivers to open seashores.
The Grey Pelican or Spot Billed Pelican inhabits southern Asia. It has spots on its upper bill and can be found from southern Pakistan, across India and east to Indonesia. They were once found in the Philippines and eastern china, but are now extinct in these regions. They have dull grey plumage and often nest in large colonies.
The Dalmatian Pelican is the largest bird capable of flight in the world. It is also the largest of the pelican species. It breeds in a large region from Europe to India and is also found in China. It lives in shallow swamps and lakes. Many of the species breed in Russia and migrate to the Middle East for the winter months.
The Australian Pelican is found throughout the continent of Australia. It can also be found in New Guinea, Fiji, parts of Indonesia and in New Zealand. This species has the longest bill of any bird in the world. Small groups of these animals are also found in Vanuatu, Palau, the Bismarck Islands and the Solomon Islands.