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 four 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.