Alberta, Canada
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American White Pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
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General Description

By Jim Davis

The American White Pelican nests in the eastern half of Alberta; with the North American breeding range extending throughout the Canadian Prairie Provinces, and the mid-west United States. The preferred habitat is shallow fresh, brackish, or salt water lakes, populated with fish. Preferred sites for colonies are barren low lying islands, not subject to fluctuating water levels, and isolated from mammalian predators.

Breeding sites are usually rural because colonies are easily disturbed by the activities of man. Numbers appear to be increasing locally, particularly along the Bow River in summer. Roosting sites on islands are regularly disturbed by coyotes and fishermen. Fall migration is early to mid September, with dispersal wide ranging. Winters in the Gulf of Mexico, southern California, and Central America.

Their diet consists mostly of rough fish such as carp, suckers, and various minnows, as well as crustaceans. Feeds from surface of water, does not dive as does the Brown Pelican.

Colonial up to several hundred pairs, usually nests on islands. Pair formation thought to occur prior to arriving at nesting colony, due to lack of observed courtship display. One to four white eggs may be laid on level ground or in mound of dirt with sticks, debris, and rim. Incubation of 29 days by both parents, with rarely more than one chick surviving per nest. Fledge at about 10 weeks.

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Where to find American White Pelicans in Alberta   

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