A White Pelican in Punta Gorda

A White Pelican in Punta Gorda Florida
Photo credit: wknight94
White Pelican sounds: All Birds.com


The Endangered Birds of Florida



The Florida Pelicans



The White Pelican


To begin: what is a Bird?

A Bird is a warm blooded, bipedal (two legs)

vertebrate (has a backbone) with feathers,

bills and wings and most can fly.

It lays eggs to reproduce and many theories have

it classified as a direct descendant of Dinosaurs,

dating back to the Jurassic period.


There are 8 Pelican species in the world and two of them are in Florida,

the Brown who is a year round resident and the White,

who is our "snowbird" and only comes here in the winter.


This species is said to have existed for over 30 million years.


The White Pelican has an all white body with black tips on their wings,

it has pale orange legs and feet and an orange bill and pouch.

At nearly 6 feet tall, the White Pelican can weigh up to 30 pounds

and may have a wingspan of almost nine to ten feet.

The sexes of this really big bird are similar in appearance.


Want to see where the White Pelican goes in the summer?

This is the largest breeding colony of this bird in the United States,

they arrive here in late spring and leave in late summer.

Their numbers of over 33,000 breeding pairs is simply incredible.

White Pelicans at Chase Lake WMD

The Colony at Chase Lake
The Colony at Chase Lake WMD
Photo credit: FWS


The White Pelican has a very large bill with a rather large pouch

with which they gather their food.

This Pelican unlike the Brown, does not dive under water for its food, instead,

it simply puts its head under the water as it is swimming, to catch fish.

A White Pelican at Sanibel Island, Florida

A White Pelican at Sanibel Island, Florida
Photo credit:
Dick Daniels


The Pelican is a fascinating bird to watch in the water and in flight.

They fly either in flocks or alone in straight line or in V form.


They may live up to 20-30 years, but many die early from starvation.


A pair of White Pelicans

A Pair of White Pelicans
Photo credit: Mongo


Pelicans make few, if any sounds, except for their young,

who make quite a bit, when they are in the nest.

White Pelicans at Pelican Island NWR, Florida
White Pelicans at Pelican Island NWR, Florida
Photo credit: USFWS/George Gentry


White Pelicans breed on inland lakes in the summer, during the

remainder of the year, they can be found along the shorelines

of both the East and West Coasts of the U.S.

White Pelicans flying over Eagle Creek Park

White Pelicans flying over Eagle Creek Park
in my hometown of Indianapolis
Photo credit: rogerd


Driving along a Coastline one can frequently see Pelicans

flying directly overhead as if they are following you.


Pelicans are so beautiful and yet so fragile.

Humans have not been kind to them with respect

to where they live, feed and breed.


Earlier the widespread use of DDT had nearly wiped

them out due to egg failure and destruction.

DDT as it was proved, makes the shells of birds so thin,

that they crack and the babies die before they can be born.

This toxic chemical made a victim of the Brown Pelican,

just as it did the Bald Eagles and other Birds.


With DDT finally out of the way, the only thing that can harm

them now is Man and his insatiable appetite for Coastal living.

All those pretty Condos and lavish Hotels on the Beaches

have claimed many lives, they are called Wildlife.

And Birds are just one of the Species

whose waterfront homes have been lost.


Places to learn more:


American White Pelican

Life Histories


Animal Diversity

American White Pelican



American White Pelican

What's Your Wingspan?


Boreal Songbird Initiative

American White Pelican



The American White Pelican



Wildlife Viewing


Naples News

The White Pelican of Florida



Everglades-White Pelican


Nature Conservancy

American White Pelican


Nature Works

American White Pelican



White Pelican



American White Pelican



Walking with the Alligators

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Educating Visitors About Florida's Wildlife Since August 12, 2011

Last edited November 7, 2021

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