Bird Families

Pink pelican bird


Pink pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) got its name from the shade of the feather, which becomes pale pink in the third year of the bird's life. In juveniles, the feather is grayish-brown with a bluish tinge on the back.


Nest pink pelicans along shallow inland water bodies with dense reed thickets on the coast, along lakes and rivers, less often on sandy and rocky, weakly overgrown islands, sometimes they settle on salt water bodies without emerging vegetation. They form very dense colonies of up to many hundreds of pairs, sometimes combined with the Dalmatian Pelican.


The body of males reaches 1.85 m in length. The plumage on the belly is distinguished by a brighter pink tint in comparison with the dorsal region and the superficial veil on the wings. The span can reach 3.8 meters. The length of the wings in males is 66-77 cm, in females - 58-78 cm. Weight, depending on gender, varies from 5.5 to 10 kg.

The look is distinguished by an almost completely straight tail, consisting of 24 tail feathers. The length of the tail can be from 13.8 to 23 cm. The plumage is not frequent, it fits snugly to the body.

Like other members of the family, pink individuals have a long, flattened beak, which takes the shape of a hook towards the bottom. In length reaches 35-47 cm. The throat sac can be strongly stretched. The neck is quite long.

The plumage is absent in the frontal part, near the eyes and behind the eyes, in the jaw region. Downy plumage in the head area with a sharp cape floats to the frontal part with bare skin. There is a small process on the head, which consists of longer pointed feathers.

The younger generation of birds has brown fluff instead of plumage. The legs and beak are slightly black, and the throat sac is dark lead.

Chicks have a gray-brown neck and a lighter dorsal region. On the back, a light blue tint prevails. The wings become light brown. Flight wings are brown with a black tint. The abdominal region is white, but there is a slight brown coating.

Adults receive pale pink feathers. The dorsal region is somewhat lighter. A buffy patch appears on the sternum. Flight wings are black with brown patches. The legs of adult specimens become yellow, on the folds they become orange.

It is noteworthy, but in the mating season, pink pelicans develop a so-called "mating outfit". Swelling appears on the front of the frontal lobe. The naked areas of the skin and the iris acquire a deep scarlet color. The throat sac turns yellow. The color of the beak also takes on brighter shades. This feature is typical for both females and males. They have no differences, except for the size of the body.

Character and lifestyle

Birds are most active in the morning and evening hours. During the day it is too hot, noisy for them, and there is not a lot of food, so they have a rest. A pink pelican lives in a flock. With their whole flock, they sway on the waves, catch prey, take off and even go to bed. If the pelican separated from the flock, then there was a problem. Only due to illness or injury can a bird leave its fellow tribesmen.

I must say that such attachment of birds is not explained by tender family feelings, it is much more convenient for a flock to escape from predators, and it is not at all comfortable to fish alone, because when the fish is corralled, the flock's actions are so well-adjusted that the prey has no hope of salvation. By the way, such joint fishing is observed among birds only among pelicans.

There is no pronounced leader here. Even the beginner immediately takes the same position in the pack as the others.But the most adult individuals enjoy certain privileges - they occupy the most advantageous place on fishing, they get the best pieces, but they do not fulfill the function of leaders.

In your flock bird pink pelican feels so comfortable that he can "talk". His voice is very low, and the sounds are very diverse - from low grunts to grunts. If some pelican is forced to move away from his colony, then no one will hear his voice, he becomes silent.

Hear the cries of the pink pelican

Listen to the voice of the pink pelican

The pink pelican is not aggressive. Birds do not like to fight and sort things out too much. But they will fight for their nest. Such a battle does not end with a fatal outcome, but the wounds after the fights have to be "licked", because with the beak, or rather, the hook of the beak, an adult male can injure the enemy.

Interesting Facts

  1. The pink pelican has interesting mating games. From the outside, flirting is like a dance. Partners take turns soaring into the air and sinking into the water. The action is accompanied by a kind of muttering. After that, the couple touches their beaks and proceeds to mate.
  2. Birds are negligent in the construction of nests. The construction of housing takes no more than two days. In this case, the male brings building materials, and the female is engaged in construction. It is also noteworthy that partners are very fond of stealing materials from their neighbors. Because of this, females are often attacked.

Pelican habitat

Pelicans live on all continents except Antarctica. DNA studies have shown that pelicans belong to three main species:

  • Old World (gray, pink and Australian),
  • great white pelican,
  • New World (brown, American white and Peruvian).

Pelicans fish in rivers, lakes, deltas and estuaries. But sometimes they hunt amphibians, turtles, crustaceans, insects, birds and mammals. Some species nest on the coast near the seas and oceans, others near large continental lakes.

Pelican - the symbol of the teacher

On the eve of an important holiday - Teacher's Day - I want to share with you the story of one symbol and, I hope that this legend will give you the same inspiration as it did to our masters.

From the earliest times, it was common for people to attribute to different animals, birds and plants some special qualities, symbols that have passed through time - and although centuries fly by, in many cases stories and legends are still fascinating. However, there are symbols whose meaning is gradually erased from memory. And this oblivion seems to us completely undeserved.

In the 19th century, in many Russian cities, pelicans were depicted on the facades of educational institutions. On the main building of the Pedagogical University. Herzen, this amazing bird still flaunts in St. Petersburg. Of course, like any other parent, the pelican is a loving family man; it feeds its chicks, warms them with its warmth, and makes a cozy nest for them. But why exactly was the pelican so popular when it comes to taking special care of children?

If we look even deeper into the history of the image, we will find a pelican in Byzantine paintings and mosaics. And in this case we are already talking about Christian symbolism. And again we have a question - why a pelican?

The answer lies in the legend of the pelican. People noticed that the pelican feeds its chicks in a special way, and in some species of pelicans, the plumage color on the chest is bright scarlet - as if stained with blood ...

The ancient legend of the pelican existed long before the coming of Christ - the story of the self-sacrifice of a parent in the name of saving children. According to one version, there was a drought, the chicks were left without water and food, and the pelican father fed them with his flesh to save them from hunger. According to the other, in the absence of the parent, the unwary cubs were poisoned by a snake with its poison. When the pelican returned to the nest, he found his children dying. Then the loving father tore open the chest with his beak, nourished the chicks with his blood, and healed them.

The story of saving children through the sacrifice of a parent cannot be just a beautiful fairy tale, an echo of an old, half-forgotten myth. In different words, but we always talk about one thing. So the pelican became one of the symbols of Christ and His Sacrifice, and later a symbol of the teaching profession, the Teacher in all senses, because the pelican gave his blood, vital energy, life in the literal and figurative sense to children. So any real teacher, teacher, teacher, educator gives all (or all) of himself without a trace. Indeed, it cannot be otherwise - the teacher teaches an undefined set of rules or formulas, he teaches life. With all my soul, my own life. This is always a real sacrifice. This is probably why we always remember the teachers, no matter how many years have passed. And they remember us.

By the way, in the very original story, it was about the pelican-father, but over time this difference was smoothed out: they also talk about the mother who sacrificed herself. So after all, teachers in our life were different, but the work to which they devoted themselves has nothing to do with whether they are men or women.

There was no special, canonical way of depicting pelicans, but most often it is a sculptural, pictorial or mosaic panel, which, by the way, does not interfere with creating, for example, beautiful embroidery, textile composition or something fundamentally different. The pelican was portrayed both in front and in profile, when it comes to flat or semi-flat images. The most common postures: either the pelican feeds the chicks with its blood, or "hugs" them with its wings, as if closing in a ring, protecting them from everything evil, terrible and bad. In the eighteenth century, there were such graphic solutions - the pelican created a ring with its wings, inside which the chicks were hiding.

In general, there are no boundaries to your creativity and imagination. And the special highlight of such a creation will be the story with which you accompany your gift or exhibit. After all, as you know, the story that prompted the artist to create a masterpiece is no less important.

I hope the legend of the pelican will inspire you to create new stories in your art. Or perhaps you would like to make a special gift for your loved ones - parents or teachers.

Author of the text: Maria Sharova, Adam's workshop.

The article uses illustrations: sculptural composition on the facade of the Russian State Pedagogical University. Herzen (St. Petersburg), a mosaic from a Greek monastery on the island of Kykkos (photo by Alexander Kilanova), a 7th century Byzantine pendant from a private collection.

Diet and behavior of pelicans

Pelicans grab their prey with their beaks and then drain the water from the pouches before swallowing live food. At this moment, gulls and terns try to steal fish from their beak. Birds hunt singly or in groups. Pelicans dive into the water at high speed, catch prey. Some pelicans migrate long distances, others are sedentary.

Pelicans are social creatures, they build nests in colonies, sometimes birdwatchers number thousands of pairs in one place. The largest species - great whites, American whites, Australian pelicans and curly pelicans - nest on the ground. Lesser pelicans build nests in trees, bushes, or on rock ledges. Each pelican species builds nests of individual size and complexity.

How pelicans breed

The breeding season for pelicans depends on the species. Some species give birth to offspring annually or every two years. Others lay eggs during specific seasons or all year round. Pelican egg color:

  • chalky,
  • reddish,
  • pale green
  • blue.

Pelican mothers lay eggs in clutches. The number of eggs varies by species, from one to six at a time, and the eggs are incubated for 24 to 57 days.

Male and female pelicans jointly build nests and hatch eggs. Dad chooses a nesting site, collects sticks, feathers, leaves and other debris, and mom builds a nest. After the female lays eggs, dad and mom take turns standing on them with webbed paws.

Both parents take care of the chickens, feed them with regurgitated fish. Many of the species take care of offspring up to 18 months of age. Young pelicans take 3 to 5 years to reach sexual maturity.

Reproduction of the species

Pelicans are monogamous and make strong pairs. Sexual development begins at 3 years old, at the same time the bird receives the plumage of an adult. Arriving at the nesting site in a flock, they are immediately distributed into pairs, and after that they fight off their fellow tribesmen for the time of mating. At the time of mating games, birds jump, take off, spread their wings and rub their beaks.

Nests are built in the shallow waters of lakes and rivers. Couples nest in whole flocks, in close proximity to each other, sometimes close to shelters. The female is engaged in the construction of the dwelling, while the male provides her with all the necessary materials - grass, branches, clay, and brings them to the place of the future nest. They wind 2 days with short breaks. Once the site is ready, mate.

Resident birds are capable of incubating eggs at any time of the year, and migratory birds, as a rule, breed in the spring.

The female lays 3 eggs in the form of an oval, with a light bloom. Pelicans hatch eggs once a year, however, if the embryos die within 10 days, they can repeat the clutch. It should be noted that, on average, half of the offspring die due to the fault of predators, climatic conditions, and other reasons. The incubation period starts with the first egg and lasts 33 days. Occasionally, in the morning or in the evening, the male replaces the female in incubation.

Since pelicans nest in colonies of 10-50 individuals, the chicks hatch almost simultaneously. Hatched pelicans are blind, with pale pink skin without feathers. In the next few hours, each chick changes color to gray and dark brown. After a week, the skin is covered with fluff.

In the first 5 days of the chick's life, the parents regurgitate half-digested food into their beak, and only then feed them with fish. After 1.5 months, the young fly out of the nest.

In the wild, the pelican lives from 15-25 years, in captivity, the life expectancy can reach up to 30 years.

white stork - description, habitat, interesting facts

Features and habitat

Everyone knows about the pelican, it stands out for its amazing beak, which is connected to the bag, but that there is also pink pelican, not everyone knows. Meanwhile, this is a stately bird, with pink feathers, so extraordinary that legends are written about it.

Earlier in Egypt, wealthy people considered it an honor to keep this bird in their homes, and pink pelicans fearlessly paced the luxurious gardens and freshened up in the pools. Muslims elevate the pelican to the rank of sacred birds. And the Christians were sure that the pink pelican is the personification of true parental love, because only he feeds the chicks with his organs.

In fact, pelicans do not feed their offspring with organs at all, just the chicks climb very far with their beaks for food that their parents have saved for them. The pink pelican is a large bird. If it were not for the beak, which reaches 47 cm in males, the pelican would look like a swan, but a peculiar decoration sets it apart from all the others.

The body length of a bird can reach 175 mm, and its weight reaches 15 kg. Of course, the females are smaller. Only his brother is bigger than him - pink curly pelican... But, this species is famous not for its size, but for the color of the feather. The handsome man's feathers have a pale pink tint. To the belly, the color becomes more saturated.

When several birds swing on the waves of the reservoir, it seems that not a single feather breaks the pink color, but as soon as the flock takes off (and the pelican's span is a little less than 4 meters), it immediately becomes clear that the inner part of the wing is painted black. The pelican's legs are not too long, but he does not need it, he is not a fan of walking, it is more convenient for him to swim, and for this the toes on his paws are connected by a membrane.

Pictured is a pink curly pelican

But this bird has a long neck.The head is slightly thrown over the back, which gives the handsome man a very arrogant look. But this position of the head is not at all because of importance, it is more convenient to hold a large beak. There are no feathers near the eyes at all. But this place is colored by a pink pelican in a juicy, yellow color.

Yellow shade and bag, and paws. Though pink pelican is listed in the Red Book, there are many places where he lives. It can be seen in Asia, Africa and Europe. Nesting sites of pink pelicans can be seen from Southeast Europe to Mongolia.

Appearance of a pink pelican

In pink pelicans, the male is larger than the female. The body weight of the female reaches 10 kg, and that of males 11 kg. In females, the wing length is 640 - 690 mm, and in males, 700 - 720 mm. The pelican has a rather long, flattened hook-shaped beak at the end. There is a kind of sac on the throat that is capable of stretching strongly.

Pink pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus).

The legs of the pelican are relatively short, and the neck is very long. Feathers on the ring around the eye, frenulum, forehead, at the base of the lower jaw and in the space behind the eye are absent. On the head of the pelican there is a tuft of pointed elongated feathers.

An adult pink pelican in a normal outfit is white with a pink tint.The intensity of the pink tint increases towards the belly.

There is a yellow-buffy patch on the chest. Translucent red blood vessels are clearly visible on the yellowish throat sac.

The pink pelican is listed in the Red Book of Russia as an endangered species.

The areas around the eyes, devoid of feathers, are colored yellow. Greyish-blue beak with white apical hook and pink margins covered with reddish spots. The yellow color of the apex of the mandible gradually turns into a gray-blue color of the base. There is an orange tint on the folds of the yellow legs. The iris of the pelican's eye is colored light red.

In the nesting plumage, the neck and head of the bird are brown-gray. Moving closer to the back, this color becomes lighter. The back of the bird is colored light blue. Flight feathers are brown-black. On the secondary flight feathers there is a gray-silver bloom, and on the primary ones there is a white border.

The shoulder, large and middle wing coverts are gray-brown with paler tips. Small wing coverts are light brown, ocher in color. The tail feathers are light gray. There is a brown bloom on the white belly.

The Pink Pelican is a breeding migrant and migrant.

In breeding plumage, the unfeathered front part of the forehead forms a swelling. The unfeathered parts are colored bright red with some yellowish tinge. The iris of the eye is dark red. The throat sac is buffy-yellow. Legs are red-yellow. Sexual dimorphism in pink pelicans is poorly developed, females and males differ from each other only in size.

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The pink pelican is a real gourmet in food, he prefers to eat only fish. The whole flock is engaged in fishing at the same time. The catch is different - both small things and large fish. Depending on where the pelican is located, the type of fish depends. In Europe, it is carp, and in Africa, cichlids.

The pelican does not like small fish too much, it makes up only 10% of its diet, and 90% is large and medium prey. Fishing takes place in shallow places, the whole flock flaps its wings, pelicans make noise, make noise, whip up the water and drive the fish school into shallow water, and there they capture it with their beak.

At this time, the bag is strongly stretched, because water is collected there along with the fish. But before swallowing food, the pelican releases all the water from the bag. When hunting, a pelican submerges only its head and part of its body into the water, but cannot dive. An adult bird eats more than a kilogram of fish per day.

Reproduction and life expectancy

In Africa, pelicans can produce offspring at any time of the year, although more often it occurs during the rainy season, but in cooler climates, pelicans produce offspring in the spring. As soon as the flock arrives after wintering, the birds split into pairs and stay in these pairs throughout the season.

In order to choose a "spouse" for itself, the pink pelican shows everything he is capable of - he makes unthinkable pirouettes in the air (and he flies great), sits on the water, whips the water surface with his wings, mutters, probably something pleasant , and then, when the beauty gives up, they rub against each other with their beaks. All created pairs, although they build their own separate nests, prefer to stay close to each other. They often nest almost closely to each other.

Pelican chicks in the photo

The couple starts building the nest together. The male drags in the beak bag everything that is suitable for construction - sticks, pieces of dirt, branches, and the female puts all the building material into a kind of nesting structure.

It must be said that the nest is not an example of building craftsmanship - a large pile of branches and sticks, often even without bedding. But even for the construction of such a house, the female has to be on the alert every minute - all males are not clean on their paws, and to create their nest they can easily drag half of the neighbor's house.

At the same time, pelicans also mate. Very soon, pink pelicans have 2 to 3 eggs. The female will no longer lay eggs this year, clutching is done only once a year. However, if for some reason the couple lost their clutch, then the female immediately sits down to incubate new offspring.

The female incubates the offspring. The male is nearby and replaces the "spouse" so that she can feed. Chicks appear after 28-36 days. I must say that almost all chicks in one flock hatch at the same time. A newborn chick is born naked, blind and completely helpless. Only after 10 days his code will be covered in rest.

At this time, parents catch fish not only for themselves - they need to feed their offspring with semi-digested food. But after 5 days, the chicks are able to digest raw fish. The mother and father constantly take care and protect the little ones. Young people get up on the wing only after a month and a half.

After two - two and a half months, young pelicans are covered with pink plumage. Pelicans are not overly eager to produce offspring in captivity. Not every zoo can boast of "its" chicks. However, this is not excluded, there are couples who gave chicks and in zoos. In zoos, the pink pelican lives for up to 30 years, but in the wild, the lifespan is shorter.

Habitat of the pink pelican

This species of pelicans lives in Southwest, Central Asia, Africa and Southeast Europe.

The bird nests are located from the Danube River Delta in Southeastern Europe to the west of Mongolia. For wintering, the bird flies partly to the south of Asia (from North India to the Persian Gulf), but mainly to Africa. At the beginning of the 20th century, the pink pelican in Europe nested in the Czech Republic and Hungary, in Ukraine - on the Tendrovsky and Karkinitsky bays, as well as on the Dnieper estuary. In Moldova - in the Dniester floodplains.

The popular Russian name is baba-babura, baba-bird.

On the territory of the Russian Federation, the pelican nests in the Volga delta and also on the islands in the southeast of the Azov Sea between Krivoy Spit and Yeisk. In Asia - on the Aral Sea, on Lake Tolmachev and from Asu-Darya to the Syr-Darya delta, on the lakes adjacent to the Syr-Darya, on Balkhash, in the lower reaches of the Chu, in the area of ​​the mouths of Aksu, Karatal, Ili, in Dzungaria, in the Zayskan hollow. In Iran, on Lake Umriya, near the Persian Gulf, in the south of Khorassan, in Mesopotamia, in Seistan. In Northwest India to Sindh, in Syria on Lake Antioch.

Northeast Africa, from Lake Nyasa to Senegal, is home to local, non-migratory populations. Also, similar populations exist in the south of Vietnam and in the northwest of India. In China, the Caucasus and Crimea, the pink pelican does not nest.

Reproduction of pink pelicans

These birds are monogamous and form stable pairs. Pink pelicans arrive at the nesting sites in flocks. Almost immediately after arrival, the birds split into pairs, and no longer keep in flocks. Mating games of pink pelicans are jumping in place with raised wings and muttering, a series of take-offs and landings, after which pelicans rub against each other with their beaks.

Pink pelicans tend to nest in large colonies. Usually such colonies are located on shallow lakes, right in their center, on dams of vegetation and reeds. Nests in a colony of pink pelicans are located in close proximity to each other.

The number worldwide is estimated at 290 thousand individuals.

When building a nest, the male brings materials to the female for construction, and she already builds the nest herself. Grass acts as a building material. After 2 - 3 days of intensive construction, the nest is considered ready. During the same period, pink pelicans mate. This process takes a whole day with short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes.

Clutch consists of an average of 3 oval eggs covered with white limescale. As a rule, pelicans carry out one clutch per year, however, if the clutch dies no later than 10 days after the start of incubation, the female can lay eggs again. Incubation starts from 1 egg in a clutch. The participation of the male in incubation is reduced to short replacements of the female at the nest in the evening and morning hours. The incubation period lasts about 33 days.

In Europe, the largest nesting site is the Danube Delta (Romania), 3-3.5 thousand pairs.

Within the same colony, chicks hatch from eggs almost simultaneously. They are born without feathers, blind and completely helpless. Immediately after birth, the naked skin of the chick has a pale pink color, but after a few hours it becomes first gray and then black-brown. After 8 - 10 days, the chicks are already covered with down.

In the first days of life, pelicans feed their chicks with semi-digested food, which they regurgitate directly into the beaks of their young. From the age of 5 days, the offspring gradually moves to fresh fish. The young grows on the wing after about 45 days of life.

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