Eastern white pelican

Pelecanus onocrotalus

BL 28.02.20 IMG 2972 Mature eastern white pelican WO Copyright
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Pelecanidae

You can find our 4 eastern white pelicans gliding through the lake, near the entrance to the zoo.

Also known as the great white pelican, this bird is found in shallow, freshwater areas from south-eastern Europe through to Asia and African swamps.

They are piscivores – most of their diet consists of fish but they will also eat small invertebrates.

Interesting facts!

  • This bird’s yellow gular pouch has capacity for 13 litres of liquids or up to 4 kg of fish.
  • A Great White pelican does not dive to catch its prey, instead, it dips it head in unison with other birds to scoop fish into its huge throat pouch.
  • In the breeding season, these birds have a pinkish colour, with usually yellow on the breast.


This species is not currently under huge threat, from a stable global population that is spread across different areas.