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Pelican Species of the World

By: C.M.Shorter

Scientifically in the Class of Aves, Pelicans are a very distinct group of birds with all 8 species belonging to a single genus.   Distant relatives of the Black-Faced Cormorant and Frigate Birds, migrating Pelicans can stay aloft for periods as long as 24 hours.   The Great White Pelican is the longest of the Pelican subspecies reaching 70 inches in length with a spectacular wingspan reaching over 120 inches.  The Australian Pelican’s claim to fame is that it has the longest beak of any bird in the world. CLICK HERE TO SEE ANIMAL WEBCAMS

Pelican Species of the World
Australian Pelican

Pelican Species of the World - Australian Pelican: Longest Beaked Bird in the World
Longest Beaked Bird in the World
American White Pelicans

Source: Oklahoma Tourism

Common Name  Scientific Name (Pelecanus)  Territory
American White Pelican

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

America Pacific Coast
Australian Pelican  (or Goolayyalibee)  P. conspicillatus

Australia, New Guinea, Fiji
Christmas Island, New Zealand

Brown Pelican (Eastern Brown Pelican P. occidentalis  

Coastal U.S., Florida to Virginia, Gulf States, Pacific Coast to South America
*Dalmation Pelican  P. crispus

Europe, Asia, China (Eurasia)
Eastern White Pelican (or Great White Pelican) P. onocrotalus

Danube Delta, India, Northern Africa
Peruvian Pelican P. thagus 

 South American Coast (Peru to Chile)
Pink-Backed Pelican P. rufescens

Africa, Arabia, Madagascar
*Spot-Billed Pelican  P. philippensis Southeast Asia

In the United States the Brown Pelican along with the American White Pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

*Listed on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species both species having a signficant downward drop in breeding pairs (recent counts show only 250-400 pairs remain) and under special effort “recovery programs” to try to reestablish healthy colonies.

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