Description of the American White Pelican
Same as male.
Seasonal change in appearance
An orange epidermal plate enlarges on the top of the bill during the breeding season.
Juveniles resemble adults, but are grayer.
American White Pelicans inhabit lakes and marshes.
American White Pelicans primarily eat fish.
American White Pelicans often swim in groups, foraging by swimming with their bills in the water, scooping up fish in their pouches. They may also be seen soaring in large groups.
American White Pelicans breed on isolated lakes throughout the north central and northwestern U.S. They winter across many parts of the southern U.S. The population appears to be stable.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the American White Pelican.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Groups of American White Pelicans forage in a coordinated fashion, herding or encircling schools of fish for easier capture.
American White Pelicans nest colonially, sometimes in large numbers.
Pelicans perform pouch exercises to maintain the elasticity of the pouch.
American White Pelicans are usually silent, but they may make soft grunts near their nest.