The Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) is a member of the pelican family.
Distribution / Range
It breeds from southeastern Europe through Asia to China in swamps and shallow lakes. The nest is a crude heap of vegetation.
Like the White Pelican, this species has declined greatly through habitat loss and persecution. As of 1994, there are around 1,000 breeding pairs in Europe, most of them in Russia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania (Karavasta Lagoon).
This is the largest of the pelicans, averaging 170–190 cm (67-75 inches) in length, 11–15 kg (24-33 lbs) in weight and just over 3 m (10 ft) in wingspan. On average, it’s the world’s heaviest flying species, although large male bustards and swans can exceed the pelican in maximum weight.
It differs from the White Pelican in that it has curly nape feathers, grey legs and greyish-white (rather than pure white) plumage. It has a red lower mandible in the breeding season. Immatures are grey and lack the pink facial patch of immature White Pelicans. The latter also has darker flight feathers.
This pelican migrates short distances. In flight, it is an elegant soaring bird, with the flock moving in synchrony. The neck is then held back like a heron’s.
Diet / Feeding
As is well known, pelicans catch fish and small birds in their huge bill pouches.
The Dalmatian Pelican is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
No subspecies are known to exist over its wide range, but based on size differences, a Pleistocene paleosubspecies Pelecanus crispus palaeocrispus has been described from fossils recovered at Binagady, Azerbaijan.
- BirdLife International (2006). Pelecanus crispus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this species is vulnerable