Pelecanus thagus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pelecanus thagus
Species Authority: Molina, 1782
Common Name(s):
English Peruvian Pelican
Taxonomic Notes: Pelecanus occidentalis and P. thagus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) previously lumped into P. occidentalis following SACC (2005), are now considered distinct species following SACC (2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Garcia-Godos, I., Jaramillo, A., Monteiro, A., Simeone, A. & Zavalaga, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J
Although the population of this species is now stable or perhaps even increasing, it is likely to still be recovering after dramatic declines in the El Nino year of 1998. It could suffer similar declines in the future if conditions were repeated, for these reasons it is classified as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is restricted to the coast of central Peru and Chile. Although the population may currently exceed 500,000 mature individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1992), this is a fraction of former numbers and numbers fluctuate greatly in association with El Niño, and with numbers of schooling anchoveta Engraulis ringens.

Chile; Peru
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The most recent population estimate places it at 100,000-1,000,000 individuals.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It breeds in large colonies on rocky coasts, feeding in shallow offshore waters along the coast on small schooling fish (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is likely to have been as badly affected by the El Niño event of 1998 as other Humboldt Current species such as Inca Tern Larosterna inca, which declines over this period approached 30%. Pelicans are notoriously susceptible to disturbance at breeding colonies, either intentional (e.g. by fishermen), or unintentional (e.g. by tourists).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess population size. Regularly monitor at certain sites throughout its range to determine population trends, particularly after El Niño years. Restrict access to important breeding colonies. Study the interactions between this species and the fisheries.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Pelecanus thagus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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