Facts about this animal
The pink-backed pelican is one of the smaller of the eight pelican species, Its plumage is white, grey and pink in colour with dark grey wing tips. The top of the beak is yellow and the inside of the pouch pink. Mature individuals have long feather plumes on the back of the head. 2-3 large white eggs are laid in a large stick nest and are incubated for 30 days.
The chicks feed by violently plunging their heads deep into the adult's throat pouch and taking the partially digested regurgitated fish. The main food of pink-backed pelicans is fish, in addition they feed on a variety of small invertebrates and amphibians They usually fish in groups, stretched out in a line to surround a shoal of fish. The pelicans then duck their heads under water at exactly the same time, frightening and confusing the fish which are scooped up in the birds' pouches.
Did you know?
that birds cannot sweat, so when pelicans get hot they cool themselves instead by fluttering air over the moist skin on the inside of their throat pouches?
|Name (Scientific)||Pelecanus rufescens|
|Name (English)||Pink-backed pelican|
|Name (French)||Pélican gris|
|Name (Spanish)||Pelícano rosado|
|Local names||Afrikaans: Klein Pelikaan
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed in CMS but falling under AEWA.|
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|Range||Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Congo Dem., Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe Asia: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, vagrant in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Oman|
|Habitat||Preferably freshwater wetlands, in luding lakes, rivers, ponds and swamps, but sometimes found also along the coast or in alkaline lakes.|
|Wild population||The global population is estimated to be in the order of 50,000–100,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002).|
|Zoo population||255 reported to ISIS (2008)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 21 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
The pink-backed pelican is not an endangered species. Zoos keep it primarily for educational reasons, because of evolutionary adaptation in morphology and behaviour to fish catching in social groups. It is also a good ambassador species for wetland conservation and for promoting the African-Eurasian Waterfowl Agreement.