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Peruvian Pelican - BirdForum Opus

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Adult in breeding plumage
Photo © by Alastair Rae
Arica, Chile, November 2005

Alternative names: Chilean Pelican or Chilean Brown Pelican

Pelecanus thagus


Dark with a white stripe from the top of the bill, up to the crown and down the sides of the neck. They have long tufted feathers on the top of their heads.

Adult in flight
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Port of San Martin (Pisco), Peru, 15 December 2017

Similar Species

Much larger than the similar Brown Pelican with differences in especially bare part colors.


Peru and Chile.


This is a monotypic species[2].

Howard & Moore treat this species as a part of Brown Pelican, but the Opus follow Clements and Sibley & Monroe in splitting it.


Beaches, cliffs and guano islands



Peruvian pelicans feed by diving into the water from flight. During coastal bird watching tours between from Pucusana port to Asia Island in Peru. They can be observed regularly in common feeding frenzies with sea lions, dusky dolphins, Guanay Cormorants, Peruvian Boobies, Inca Terns and several gull species.


2-3 eggs are laid and incubated for 4-5 weeks. Breeds in large colonies on rocky coasts, feeding in shallow offshore waters along the coast on small schooling fish.


This bird feeds on several species of fish. The main prey species is the Peruvian anchovies (Engraulis ringens). Other species consumed are Sardines (Sardinops sagax), Trachurus murphyi and Scomberesox saurus.


  1. Mundo Azul Species fact sheet Peruvian pelican
  2. 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/
  3. SACC (2007) Proposal (#271) to South American Classification Committee. Separate Pelecanus thagus from P. occidentalis. URL: http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCprop271.htm
  4. del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/467293 on 28 January 2018).
  5. Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/perpel1
  6. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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