American White Pelicans at the Zoo

Nigel – Brought to the Zoo in September 2021 with a badly injured wing. His injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle. Even with surgery, the severity of the injury left him flightless. He now lives in the Marsh Bird exhibit with other water-fowl.


(Pelecanus Erythrorhynchos)  

What do Pelicans eat?

Mostly fish; primarily “rough” fish of little value to humans; also crayfish and salamanders.

How long do Pelicans live?

Up to 15 years in the wild – longer in captivity (25-30 years).

How many can be born at a time?

Females will lay a clutch of 2 to 3 eggs usually.

Where are they found? 

Most populations are migratory. Some populations on the Texas coast and in Mexico are more stationary. Big Bear Lake has a migratory flock that visits each year.

Interesting facts:
  • One of North America’s largest birds with a wingspan up to 9 feet!!
  • Pelicans don’t carry food in their pouches, they use them to scoop up food but will swallow their catch before flying off.