Common Name: Dalmation Pelican

Scientific Name: Pelecanus crispus


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Pelicaniformes

Family: Pelecanidae

Genus: Pelicanus

Species: P. crispus


Pelecanus crispus or also known as the Dalmatian pelican is the largest of all pelican-like birds. It varies from 67 inches to 75 inches. Its weight varies from 24 to 33 pounds. The bird has curly, nape feathers, grey legs, and grey-ish white plumage. A very large wing span, short legs, and a long neck. The long neck is for reaching down far into the water to get its food.


This pelican will fly short distances south for the winter. The most likely reason for short- distant flying is their weight and size. The Dalmatian pelican is the largest known flying species.  It breeds among reed beds, open islands, and in river deltas and costal lagoons.


Dalmatian pelicans are endangered. They can be vulnerable in some places and unknown in others.  They are native to Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; China; Egypt; Georgia; Greece; Hong Kong; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Pakistan; Romania; Serbia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; and Uzbekistan.  They are possibly extinct in Bangladesh and regionally extinct due to human activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Germany; Hungary; Macedonia, Cyprus; Czech Republic; Israel; Italy; Kuwait; Latvia; Norway; Poland; Slovakia; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; United Arab Emirates; and Western Sahara.


Former declines were primarily caused by wetland drainage, shooting and persecution by fisherman.  Continuing threats include disturbance from tourists and fishers, wetland alteration and destruction, water pollution, collision with overhead power-lines and overfishing.  Hunting by herders (for traditional use of the bill) continues to threaten the Mongolian population.

Nest predation by wild boar at times of low water levels is the biggest threat to the Bulgarian breeding colony.


Author: Chelsea L.

Published: 3/2010