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Dalmatian Pelican - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Theo Mamais
Lake Kerkini, Greece, January 1998
Pelecanus crispus


Photo © by ody
Lake Vegoritis,North Greece, February 2008

Length 160-180 cm (63-70¾ in), wingspan 310-345 cm, weight 10-13 kg

  • Grey white plumage.
  • Curly nape feathers.
  • Wings with dark brown primaries and secondaries, and dusky wing coverts, giving diffuse pattern above; mainly white to pale grey below with just primaries and secondaries diffusely dark-tipped.
  • Yellow to purple bare skin around eyes.
  • Orange-red gular pouch when breeding starts; becomes yellow later.
  • Dark grey legs.

Similar species

Great White Pelican has a sharply defined black-and-white wing pattern; juveniles and immatures less distinct, but with more black on underwing.


Photo © by crs
Danube Delta, Romania, October 2011

Breeds southern Europe and central Asia, in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece east through Turkey and Kazakhstan to Xinjiang in China; winters south to Iran and India. Formerly much more widespread, including northwest to the Somerset Levels in Somerset, England, where it became extinct probably during Roman or mediaeval times due to hunting and persecution by fishing interests.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Shallow lakes, coastal lagoons, river deltas and swamps.



It is a colonial breeder, nesting on mud islets or piles of vegetation in reedbeds.

Immature under-wing
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India, December-2018


The diet consists almost entirely of fish, particularly, carp, perch and rudd.


Calls: Hissing and grunting.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334108
  3. Wikipedia
  4. BirdLife International

Recommended Citation

External Links

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