Eastern white pelican are the second largest species of pelican in the world. We are currently home to a small group, made up of both males and females.
Our pelican walkthrough exhibit is located near Meerkat Plaza, at the front of the zoo.
They are found from southeastern Europe through to Asia and African swamps and are the second largest of the pelican species. Their wingspan can reach between 226 to 360cm. Their bills reach between 28 and 47cm in length and adult males typically weigh from 9-15 kg.
Adult eastern white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) have pure white plumage with pinkish legs. Juveniles are grey in colour and have dark flight feathers. They have short strong legs with webbed feet to help propel them in the water and aid in take-off.
They are usually found in groups in and around shallow warm fresh water. Their diet consists mainly of fish and they prefer to feed in the early morning.
Breeding season takes place in April and May where breeding takes place in colonies. The females lay between one and four eggs in a clutch. Incubation lasts between 29 - 36 days and the chicks are naked when they hatch. They produce black or brown down feathers. Chicks fledge the nest approximately 65-75 days after hatching. Chicks are often vulnerable to eagles, jackals and lions whereas adults have very few predators. However those living in Africa can fall victim to crocodiles.
Our pelican walkthrough exhibit is located near meerkat plaza, at the front of the Zoo.
It features large ponds and cascading waterfalls surrounded by verdant plants and trees. It even includes a number of stunning mature weeping willows that tumble down over the water (and are thought to be around 100 years old), and a wooden jetty set onto one of the ponds.
This new exhibit features glass panelling to allow full, unobstructed views of these magnificent birds and whilst visitors do not have direct physical contact, the new walkthrough experience immerses you in the pelicans’ habitat.
Thank you to Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual life and pensions company, sponsors of our pelican walkthrough at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. Home to our flock of Eastern White pelicans, the new walkthrough exhibit features glass panelling to allow full, unobstructed views of the magnificent birds.
David Meliveo, Head of Group Brand and Consumer Marketing, at Royal London said:
“These quirky and interesting birds are at the heart of our brand and it’s great to be continuing our partnership with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, helping to support conservation projects.”
In supporting the pelican enclosure, Royal London are supporting the conservation work undertaken by RZSS in securing habitat, studying populations and understanding the effects of man’s activity and global warming on wildlife.