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Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

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
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Unknown Not Applicable -
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 Resident
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 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 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 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       Yes
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 Yes
Russia Native Extant Yes   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 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 Gizilagach State Reserve 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 Central Marshes site factsheet
Iraq Haur Al Hammar site factsheet
Iraq Haur Al Rayan and Umm Osbah site factsheet
Iraq Razzaza Lake (Bahr Al Milh) 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 Akzhar Lakes site factsheet
Kazakhstan Ili River Delta site factsheet
Kazakhstan Irgiz-Turgay Lakes site factsheet
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea site factsheet
Kazakhstan Naurzum State Nature Reserve site factsheet
Kazakhstan Sarykopa Lake System site factsheet
Kazakhstan Shoshkaly Lake System site factsheet
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System site factsheet
Kazakhstan Teniz-Karakamys Lakes site factsheet
Kazakhstan Tentek River Delta 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 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 non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools Major 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
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - - Subsistence, National
Food - human - - - Subsistence, National
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - - International

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pelecanus onocrotalus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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
- Projected distributions under climate change
- 2015 European Red List assessment