(American White Pelican)
Size: 54-74" (137-138 cm). This is a large white bird with black primary and secondary flight feathers. Note the large, yellow, pouched bill. It has a wingspan of 8 to 9.5 feet. In flight, it alternately soars and flaps. Flies with neck bent and head close to body.
Similar Species- The Trumpeter Swan has no black on its wings. The Whooping Crane flies with its neck straight.
Breeds in Canadian Prairie Provinces and parts of northwestern and midwestern U.S., south to coastal Texas. Winters along Gulf and Pacific coasts south to Guatemala. In Idaho, breeds at Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, Blackfoot Reservoir, and on Snake River near Glenn's Ferry.
Feeds mainly on fishes of little commercial value (e.g., carp, perch, catfish, suckers, stickleback). Eats some salamanders and crayfishes.
Gregarious. Nests on ground, in rimmed scrape. In Idaho, several nesting colonies have been abandoned due to human distrubance. Foxes and coyotes are nest predators. Estimates from 1993 survey indicate 150-175 nexts are located at Minidoka NWR and 80-100 nests are located at Blackfoot Reservoir.
Both adults incubate 2 eggs (usually); rarely does more than 1 young fledge (in an Idaho study, 5 nests yielded an average of 1.8 young/nest). Young are tended by both adults, leave nest in about 21-28 days, and first fly at 7-10 wk. In Manitoba study, 34-38 days elapsed between time flocks first flew over colony sites and time eggs hatched.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Trost, C.H. and A. Gerstell. 1994. Status and distribution of colonial nesting waterbirds in southern Idaho, 1993. Dept. Biol. Sciences, Idaho St. Univ., Pocatello. 101pp.