American White Pelican

American White Pelican by David J. L'Hoste
© David J. L'Hoste
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
This immense white bird, with its black-tipped wings and long, yellow-pouched bill, is one of our most conspicuous winter residents. Although American White Pelicans are not known to nest in our state, flocks numbering over one thousand individuals are sometimes present along our coast throughout the summer. In late October and early November large migratory flocks are not infrequently seen moving southward toward our coastal waterways, where the species is common in winter. Small flocks are also found on a few inland lakes in winter. Spring departure begins in April and continues through May. The principal breeding grounds for the American White Pelican are lakes in western Canada and in the northwestern United States, but since at least the late 1950's sizable colonies numbering sometimes over 500 pairs have nested on South Bird Island in Laguna Madre in southern Texas. --George H. Lowery, Jr., 1974, Louisiana Birds

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