American White Pelican Bird Photograph
American White Pelican one of the largest birds in North America, with a 9-foot wingspan. American White Pelican: Huge, white seabird, enormous outstretched wings show black primaries, outer secondaries in flight. Bill, legs are bright orange, upper bill develops a fibrous keel during breeding season. Slow, deep wing beats. Soars high on thermals. Flies in straight line or V formation. Similar to Brown Pelican in shape but much larger, and very different in habits: Occurs far inland, feeds cooperatively in shallow lakes, does not dive from the air for fish. Despite its great size, a spectacular flier, with flocks often soaring very high in the air, ponderously wheeling and circling in unison.Forages by swimming on surface, dipping bill into water and scooping up fish in pouch. During breeding season does much foraging at night, locating fish by touch during frequent dipping of bill; by day, probably locates prey visually.
American White Pelicans is a majestic sight-a long line of ponderous birds, flapping and coasting. Each bird seems to take its cue from the one in front of it, beginning to flap and starting a glide when its predecessor does. These birds ride rising air currents to great heights, where they soar slowly and gracefully in circles.
The American White Pelican is dependent on wetlands for its survival, and the boreal forest provides plenty. It nests on islands in freshwater and saline lakes, foraging in shallow waters up to 50 kilometers (30 miles) or more away. It uses similar foraging sites during migration to its largely coastal wintering sites.
American White Pelican: Breeds from Alberta and Saskatchewan south to northern California, Utah, and Colorado; also breeds along the Gulf Coast in southern Texas and northern Mexico. Spends winters in the southern U.S. in California, Arizona, and the Gulf Coast states south to Panama. Preferred habitats include shallow lakes and coastal lagoons.