7 Types of Pelicans With Pictures

Types of Pelicans
Photo by sandid on Pixabay

Have you heard about the different types of pelicans birds? Pelicans are majestic and fascinating birds belonging to the family Pelecanidae.

They have a unique appearance and come in many different sizes and colors. 

From the American white pelican to the Dalmatian pelican, there is a vast array of pelican species to discover.

Let’s travel together to explore the most incredible types of pelicans. Read on to learn more about these amazing birds and their unique characteristics!

1. Spot-Billed Pelican

Spot-Billed Pelican
by Hari K Patibanda is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Spot-Billed Pelican is one of the fascinating types of pelicans that can be found in various parts of Southeast Asia.

This species is characterized by its distinctive yellow patch on the base of its bill, which sets it apart from other types of pelicans. 

Spot-Billed Pelicans typically inhabit wetlands and shallow lakes, feeding on fish and other aquatic creatures.

Despite being one of the smaller types of pelicans, they are still an impressive sight with their large bills and long wingspan.

2. Pink-Backed Pelican

Pink-Backed Pelican
by ^riza^ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Pink-Backed Pelican, also known as the Rosy Pelican, is also one of the types of pelicans found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Can you believe It gets its name from the pink feathers on its back and the characteristic pink patch on its face? 

Unlike other pelicans, it feeds on small fish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures by dipping its bill into the water while swimming.

The Pink-Backed Pelican is known for its distinctive, waddling walk and large, communal nesting sites.

3. Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican
by Frank.Vassen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Great White Pelicans, known as Eastern White Pelicans, are majestic pelicans found primarily in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

They have striking white plumage with black primary and secondary flight feathers.

Their long beaks and large throat pouches make them great at catching and storing fish. 

To be real with you, they also have a unique social behavior of cooperatively fishing in groups, where they encircle fish and then scoop them up with their beaks.

It’s no wonder they are a beloved symbol of conservation efforts worldwide.

4. Australian Pelican

Australian Pelican
by patrickkavanagh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Australian Pelican, also known as the Brown Pelican, is found in Australia and New Zealand.

It is one of the largest types of pelicans in the world and can have a wingspan of up to 3.5 meters. 

The Australian Pelican is known for its distinctive large throat pouch that it uses to catch fish while swimming.

They are beautiful when they glide effortlessly above the water, looking for their next meal.

5. American White Pelican

American White Pelican
by cameraclub231 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The American White Pelican is one of the largest pelicans, with a wingspan reaching 9 feet.

They have striking white plumage, contrasting their black flight feathers and yellow beaks.

 These pelicans are primarily found in freshwater lakes and rivers, using their large pouches to scoop up fish.

They are known for their graceful flight and ability to catch prey in groups.

Unlike other pelicans, the American White Pelican does not dive for fish but floats on the water’s surface and scoops them up with its bill.

These majestic types of pelicans are a sight to behold and are definitely worth learning more about.

6. Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican
by bob in swamp is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Brown Pelican is perhaps the most well-known of all the different types of pelicans.

They can be found on the coasts of North and South America, diving into the water from high above to catch fish in their large, expandable pouches.

These impressive birds can grow up to 4 feet long and have 6-7 feet wingspan. 

Brown Pelicans are surprisingly agile in the air despite their size and can even hover over the water while searching for prey.

They have distinctive white and brown coloring and a unique, angular beak that sets them apart from other pelicans.

7. Dalmatian Pelican

Dalmatian Pelican
by Alex Panoiu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Dalmatian Pelican, also known as the Great White Pelican, is one of the largest types of pelicans in the world.

They can be found in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Unlike other pelicans, Dalmatian Pelicans have a white body with a pinkish-yellow beak and a small curly crest on their heads. 

The best part is, They are social birds that usually live in large colonies, often near wetlands and shallow lakes, where they feed on fish and other small aquatic animals.

Despite their size, they are graceful swimmers and flyers, making them a sight in the wild.


As you have followed us on our blog, Pelicans are some of the planet’s most interesting and unique birds.

From their giant beaks to their remarkable behavior, pelicans can be found worldwide in various shapes, sizes, and colors. 

We hope we have hit you with the fact in our blog post, as we have looked at the fascinating types of pelicans you can learn about.

Whether you are a beginner bird watcher or an experienced avian enthusiast, you will surely find something interesting in this exploration of these amazing types of pelicans.

What is the Most Common Pelican?

The Australian pelican is the most common in many areas, including Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. These large birds can often be spotted in groups on land and in water and are known for their unique long bills and impressive wingspans. But did you know that many other fascinating types of pelicans are out there? Let’s explore 10 of them.

Can a Pelican Fly?

Yes, pelicans are quite skilled flyers. They have large wings that span up to 10 feet and can soar up to heights of 10,000 feet. However, their flying technique is quite different from other birds. Pelicans are known for their spectacular plunging dives from the sky to catch their prey. 

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