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Pelecanus onocrotalus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PELECANIFORMES PELECANIDAE

Scientific Name: Pelecanus onocrotalus
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English Great White Pelican, White Pelican
French Pélican blanc

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.
Justification:
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Countries:
Native:
Afghanistan; Albania; Angola (Angola); Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Cyprus; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Ghana; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Montenegro; Serbia (Serbia)
Regionally extinct:
Hungary
Vagrant:
Algeria; Austria; Bahrain; Belarus; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; France; Latvia; Libya; Maldives; Malta; Morocco; Netherlands; Norway; Oman; Poland; Portugal; Slovenia; Spain; Swaziland; Switzerland; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; Western Sahara
Present - origin uncertain:
Sri Lanka
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour Northern populations of this species are fully migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and travel via important stop-over sites (Nelson 2005). Other populations are sedentary, dispersive (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Nelson 2005) or nomadic, flying over land to seek suitable feeding locations (Nelson 2005). The species nests in large colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1992) of 200 to 40,000 pairs (Brown et al. 1982, Snow and Perrins 1998, Nelson 2005) (occasionally with other species such as Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus) (Flint et al. 1984), breeding in the spring in temperate zones, in all months of the year in Africa and from February to April in India (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It usually fishes in flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1992) of 8-12 individuals (Brown et al. 1982) (up to 123) (Johnsgard 1993) and migrates in large flocks of 50-500 individuals (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species regularly flies long distances from breeding or roosting colonies to feed (del Hoyo et al. 1992), mostly fishing in the early-morning and early-evening (Johnsgard 1993). Habitat The species is associated with relatively large, warm, shallow fresh, brackish, alkaline or saline lakes, lagoons (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993), marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1992), broad rivers (Johnsgard 1993), deltas (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993), estuaries and coasts of landlocked seas (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species requires secure areas (Johnsgard 1993, Snow and Perrins 1998) of extensive reedbeds (del Hoyo et al. 1992), wet swamps, mudflats and sandbanks (Nelson 2005) or gravel and rocky substrates (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993, Snow and Perrins 1998) for nesting on (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Nelson 2005). Diet The species is entirely piscivorous, preferentially taking fish of between 300 and 600 g in weight (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site It nests on the ground either on a pile of sticks and vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1992) or in a simple shallow scrape (Nelson 2005) in single- or mixed-species colonies (e.g. with Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus) (Flint et al. 1984), with a distance between neighbouring nests of c.70-80 cm (Nelson 2005). It shows a preference for nesting sites that are inaccessible to ground predators (Brown et al. 1982). Management information In the Palearctic Region the installation of floating rafts or wooden platforms as safe nesting sites, and the stabilisation of natural nesting areas by reconstructing islands or installing nylon-encased concrete revetments have been successful measures for increasing breeding success (Crivelli et al. 1991). Erecting markers on electricity powerlines or (preferably) burying the powerlines has been successful in significantly reducing deaths due to collision (Crivelli et al. 1991). Installing a series of horizontal strings spaced at intervals over aquaculture ponds is also a successful measure in preventing the species from depredating farmed fish (Crivelli et al. 1991)..
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by habitat destruction through drainage (Crivelli et al. 1991, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993, Nelson 2005), the divergence of rivers for irrigation (Johnsgard 1993)7, agriculture development and industry (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It is also subject to climatic fluctuations that have a strong influence over water-levels in wetlands: floods leading to the inundation of nesting sites (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and lowering water-levels leading to the death of fish due to increased water salinity (Crivelli 1994). The species is threatened by persecution (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993) and hunting for sport because of its (minimal) depredation of fish from fish-farms (Crivelli et al. 1991). It also suffers mortality due to collisions with electric powerlines during migration, dispersal or on its wintering grounds and is often found drowned in fishing nets (Crivelli et al. 1991). Disturbance (del Hoyo et al. 1992), 8 (e.g. from tourism) threatens breeding colonies (Crivelli et al. 1991), and pesticides, heavy metal contamination and disease could have devastating effects on large colonies in the future (Crivelli et al. 1991, del Hoyo et al. 1992). Utilisation Adults of this species are hunted and sold for food at markets in Egypt (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Pelecanus onocrotalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 October 2014.
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