Pelican Species


There are eight different species of pelicans that will be listed, described and illustrated hereafter.


American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus)

Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens)

Spot-billed Pelican (Grey Pelican) (Pelecanus philippensis)

I’d like to add the subspecies of Pelecanus conspicillatus novaezealandiae, which, however is not generally recognized. This subspecies is based on bone fossils found in New Zealand.

In addition, there are several types of sea pelicans, but also have only subspecies status. These include five subspecies:

Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis

Occurence: Caribbean Island

Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

Occurence: U.S.West (California) to Western-Mexico

Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis

Occurence: USA (States of South Carolina and Florida) to Venezuela

Pelecanus occidentalis murphyi

Occurence: West-Colombia via Ecuador to Northern-Peru

Pelecanus occidentalis urinator

Occurence: Only Galapagos Islands


Occasionally, cross-breeds of the various species have occurred, as I would like to illustrate by way of those hatched in the Berlin Zoo 1964-1967 

Dalmatian Pelican – American White Pelican (not sure proved !)

Pink-backed Pelican - Dalmatian Pelican

A male young named “Anatol” was the result of a  Pink-backed Pelican – Dalmatian Pelican pairing in the Berlin Zoo in 1967 that lived in the zoo until it passed away September 17, 1981.

Spot-billed Pelican - Pink-backed Pelican (not sure proved !)

Pink-backed Pelican - Great White Pelican (not sure proved !)


Pelican Hybrids in other Zoos worldwide


National Zoological Park Washington 1934

Brown Pelican - American White Pelican (Age unknown)*

Giza Zoo Kairo 1908

Great White Pelican - Pink backed Pelican (Age unknown)*

Zoo Shanghai 1985-1986

Dalmatian Pelican - Great White Pelican (4 birds) (Age unknown)*


* Der Zool. Garten N.F. 59 (1989) 1

Dr. Wolfgang Grummt - Bemerkungen über Pelikanmischlinge


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