Australian Pelican

A pair of Australian PElicans standing on a sandy bank in a lake

Scientific Name: Pelecanus conspicillatus

Size: 1.6-1.8 m

What does it look like?

Its pouched bill, large size and distinct black and white plumage makes the Australian Pelican unmistakable with any other bird when perched or feeding on the water. When soaring at great heights it can be mistaken for the White-bellied Sea-Eagle, although its long bill is normally visible when more closely scrutinised.

Where is it found?

It can be found in suitable watered habitats throughout Australia.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Australian Pelican feeds on a variety of aquatic prey, mainly fish, and congregate in large numbers around areas where anglers clean their catch, but will also also eat ducks and their young.

Interesting facts

Pelicans have been well documented for catching and often eating unusual things.  The larger species of pelican have been documented catching and eating small dogs, and one record has been documented of a pelican grabbing a young child in its bill, before the parents forced the bird to let the child go.  Less dramatically, but just as interesting, is the Australian Pelican which is well renowned for eating ducks and their young.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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