Australian Pelican

Pelecanus conspicillatus


Other names
Spectacled Pelican

Click here to see an Australian Pelican chick


Adults: 1.5 to 1.9 metres in length with a wing span of 2.4 to 2.6 metres. Large bird with huge pink pouch-like bill. Bill can turn a reddish colour during mating display (four years and older), the red fades after pairing. Mostly white feathers with black on wings. Naked, pale yellow skin around eye. Eye is brown. Greyish webbed feet. Female smaller than male.

Juvenile: Similar to adults but brown on wings instead of black.

Voice: gruff croak like call.

The Australian Pelican can be found throughout Australia, including inland near plentiful water. Habitat includes large shallow waters: fresh, brackish and saline. They occassionally can be seen in the open sea, but prefer to stay near land. Feeds mainly on fish. The pelican can breed at any time of the year, mostly from August to November in southern Australia. The female chooses the nest site. Nests are scrapes in ground lined with sticks, grass and seaweed. Two to three eggs are laid. Incubation is 32 to 35 days. Both parents feed the chicks. Young fledge at about 100 days old. It is a nomadic bird and inland movements are influenced by rainfall. The Australian Pelican is considered to be common.