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Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 846,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 15,800,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Unknown -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 15.5 - - -
Trend justification: The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing, stable, or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan Native Extant   Yes Yes
Albania Native Extant      
Algeria Vagrant Extant      
Angola Native Extant      
Armenia Native Extant      
Austria Vagrant Extant      
Azerbaijan Native Extant   Yes Yes
Bahrain Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Belarus Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Benin Native Extant      
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant      
Botswana Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant     Yes
Burkina Faso Native Extant      
Burundi Native Extant      
Cambodia Native Extant      
Cameroon Native Extant      
Central African Republic Native Extant      
Chad Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Congo Native Extant      
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant      
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant      
Croatia Vagrant Extant      
Cyprus Native Extant   Yes Yes
Czech Republic Vagrant Extant      
Denmark Vagrant Extant      
Djibouti Native Extant      
Egypt Native Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Ethiopia Native Extant      
Finland Vagrant Extant      
France Vagrant Extant      
Gabon Native Extant      
Gambia Native Extant      
Georgia Native Extant Yes    
Ghana Native Extant      
Greece Native Extant     Yes
Guinea Native Extant      
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant      
Hungary Native Extinct Yes    
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes
Iraq Native Extant   Yes  
Israel Native Extant   Yes Yes
Italy Native Extant      
Japan Native Extant      
Jordan Native Extant     Yes
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes    
Kenya Native Extant Yes    
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant     Yes
Laos Native Extant      
Latvia Vagrant Extant      
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes
Libya Vagrant Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant      
Malawi Native Extant      
Malaysia Native Extant      
Maldives Vagrant Extant      
Mali Native Extant      
Malta Vagrant Extant      
Mauritania Native Extant Yes    
Montenegro Native Possibly Extinct   Yes  
Morocco Vagrant Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Namibia Native Extant Yes    
Nepal Native Extant      
Netherlands Vagrant Extant      
Niger Native Extant      
Nigeria Native Extant      
North Korea Native Extant      
Norway Vagrant Extant      
Oman Vagrant Extant     Yes
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes
Poland Vagrant Extant      
Portugal Vagrant Extant      
Romania Native Extant     Yes
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant      
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes   Yes
Rwanda Native Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes
Senegal Native Extant Yes    
Serbia Native Possibly Extinct   Yes  
Slovenia Vagrant Extant      
Somalia Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant      
South Korea Native Extant      
South Sudan Native Extant Yes    
Spain Vagrant Extant      
Sri Lanka Unknown Extant      
Sudan Native Extant      
Swaziland Vagrant Extant      
Switzerland Vagrant Extant      
Syria Native Extant     Yes
Tajikistan Native Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant      
Togo Native Extant      
Tunisia Vagrant Extant      
Turkey Native Extant     Yes
Turkmenistan Native Extant      
Uganda Native Extant      
Ukraine Native Extant Yes   Yes
United Arab Emirates Vagrant Extant     Yes
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes    
Vietnam Native Extant      
Western Sahara Vagrant Extant      
Yemen Native Extant   Yes  
Zambia Native Extant Yes    
Zimbabwe Native Extant      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Afghanistan Ab-i-Istada site factsheet
Afghanistan Hamun-i-Puzak site factsheet
Azerbaijan Sangachal Bay site factsheet
Botswana Lake Ngami site factsheet
Botswana Makgadikgadi Pans site factsheet
Botswana Okavango Delta site factsheet
Bulgaria Burgasko Lake site factsheet
Bulgaria Mandra-Poda complex site factsheet
Cameroon Waza National Park site factsheet
Egypt Lake Nasser site factsheet
Greece Evros delta site factsheet
Greece Lake Kerkini site factsheet
Greece Lake Mikri Prespa and Lake Megali Prespa site factsheet
India Bardha Dam site factsheet
India Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo) site factsheet
India Saman Bird Sanctuary site factsheet
India Sauj Lake site factsheet
India Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Arjan Protected Area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hamoun-i Sabari and Hamoun-i Hirmand site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Bakhtegan, Lake Tashk and Kamjan marshes site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Uromiyeh site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shur Gol, Yadegarlu and Dorgeh Sangi lakes site factsheet
Iraq Bahr Al Milh site factsheet
Iraq Central Marshes site factsheet
Iraq Haur Al Hammar site factsheet
Iraq Haur Al Rayan and Umm Osbah site factsheet
Israel Carmel coast site factsheet
Israel Hefer valley site factsheet
Israel Jezre'el, Harod and Bet She'an valleys site factsheet
Israel Judean foothills site factsheet
Israel Southern Arava valley and Elat mountains site factsheet
Israel Zevulun valley site factsheet
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea site factsheet
Kenya Lake Elmenteita site factsheet
Kenya Lake Nakuru National Park site factsheet
Kenya Tana River Delta site factsheet
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo site factsheet
Mali Séri site factsheet
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli site factsheet
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park site factsheet
Mauritania Diawling National Park site factsheet
Namibia Etosha National Park site factsheet
Pakistan Kirthar National Park (including Hub Dam) site factsheet
Romania Danube Delta site factsheet
Romania Iezerul Călăraşi site factsheet
Romania Lake Beibugeac (Plopu) site factsheet
Romania Lake Brateş site factsheet
Romania Lake Bugeac site factsheet
Romania Lake Dunăreni site factsheet
Romania Lake Mostiştea site factsheet
Romania Lake Oltina site factsheet
Romania Lake Siutghiol site factsheet
Romania Lake Taşaul site factsheet
Romania Măcin - Niculiţel site factsheet
Romania Prut river flood-plain - Vlădeşti - Frumuşiţa site factsheet
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes site factsheet
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo site factsheet
Russia (European) Lysyi Liman lake and valley of Vostochniy Manych river site factsheet
Senegal Djoudj wetlands site factsheet
Senegal Kalissaye Avifaunal Reserve site factsheet
South Africa Lake St Lucia and Mkuze Swamps site factsheet
South Sudan Sudd (Bahr-el-Jebel system) site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Eyasi site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Manyara National Park site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Rukwa site factsheet
Turkey Akşehir and Eber Lakes site factsheet
Turkey Aktaş Lake site factsheet
Turkey Amanos Mountains site factsheet
Turkey Bendimahi Delta site factsheet
Turkey Burdur Lake site factsheet
Turkey Ereğli Plain site factsheet
Turkey Kocaçay Delta site factsheet
Turkey Manyas Lake (Kuş Lake) site factsheet
Turkey Seyfe Lake site factsheet
Turkey Tuz Lake site factsheet
Turkey Uluabat Lake site factsheet
Turkmenistan Nargyz site factsheet
Turkmenistan Sarygamysh site factsheet
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George site factsheet
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays site factsheet
Ukraine Kytaj lake site factsheet
Ukraine River Danube site factsheet
Ukraine Sasyk lake site factsheet
Ukraine Stentsivs'ko-Zhebriyanivs'ki plavni site factsheet
Ukraine Yagorlyts'ka and Tendrivs'ka Bays site factsheet
Uzbekistan Akpetky lakes and surrounding Aralkum Desert site factsheet
Uzbekistan Ayakaghytma lake and surrounding desert site factsheet
Uzbekistan Dzheiran Ecocentre site factsheet
Uzbekistan Northern shore of Aydarkul Lake site factsheet
Uzbekistan Sudochye Lake site factsheet
Uzbekistan Talimarzhan Reservoir site factsheet
Uzbekistan Tudakul and Kuymazar Reservoirs site factsheet
Uzbekistan Zholdyrbas Lake site factsheet
Zambia Kafue Flats site factsheet
Zambia Mweru Wantipa National Park site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 1372 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Pelecanus onocrotalus. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
Species name author Linnaeus, 1758
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 846,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions