American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,700,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 7,120,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2009
Population trend Increasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 15 - - -

Population justification: The population is estimated to number 180,000 individuals.

Trend justification: This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (456% increase over 40 years, equating to a 53.5% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antigua and Barbuda V Extant
Bahamas N Extant
Belize V Extant Yes
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) V Extant Yes
Canada N Extant Yes
Cayman Islands (to UK) N Extant
Costa Rica N Extant Yes
Cuba N Extant
Curaçao (to Netherlands) V Extant Yes
Dominican Republic N Extant
El Salvador N Extant
Guadeloupe (to France) V Extant Yes
Guatemala N Extant
Haiti N Extant
Honduras U Extant
Jamaica V Extant
Mexico N Extant
Nicaragua N Extant
Panama V Extant
Puerto Rico (to USA) N Extant
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) V Extant Yes
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) V Extant Yes
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) N Extant
USA N Extant Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) V Extant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Canada St. Mary Reservoir
Canada Lake Newell and Kitsim Reservoir
Canada McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir
Canada Whitford and Rush Lakes
Canada Muriel Lake
Canada Utikuma and Utikumasis Lakes
Canada Beaverhill Lake
Canada Lesser Slave Lake PP
Canada Lakeland
Canada Pakowki Lake
Canada Ministik, Joseph and Oliver Lakes
Canada Hays Reservoir
Canada Eagle, Namaka and Stobart Lakes
Canada Lac La Biche
Canada Pelican Lake (Alberta)
Canada Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area
Canada Gull and Sandhill Island
Canada Kaweenakumik Lake
Canada Oak Lake/Plum Lakes Area
Canada Pipestone Rocks
Canada Dog Lake
Canada Duck Island
Canada North, West, and East Shoal Lakes
Canada North Channel Island
Canada Dory's Reef
Canada South Long Island
Canada Kasakeemeemisekak Islands
Canada Lake St. Martin Islands
Canada Long Island and Long Island Bay
Canada Sand Reef Islands
Canada Spruce Island Reef
Canada Three Sisters Islands
Canada Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area
Canada Quill Lakes
Canada Lavalleé Lake
Canada Redberry Lake
Canada Old Wives-Frederick Lakes
Canada Pelican Lake
Canada Nicolle Flats
Canada Valeport Marsh
Canada Lake Lenore
Canada Basin and Middle Lakes
Canada Primrose Lake
Canada Tobin Lake
Canada Cumberland Marshes
Canada Suggi Lake
Canada Kazan Lake
Guatemala Manchón - Guamuchal
El Salvador Cerrón Grande
Mexico Centro de Veracruz
Cuba Humedal Sur de Pinar del Río
Mexico Cuitzeo
Mexico Centro de Investigaciones Costeras La Mancha (CICOLMA)
Mexico Humedales Costeros del Norte de la Península de Yucatán
Mexico Humedales de Alvarado
Mexico La Encrucijada
Mexico Laguna de Mecoacán
Mexico Laguna de Términos
Mexico Laguna Madre
Mexico Yum-balam
Mexico Pantanos de Centla
Mexico Tecolutla
Mexico Presa Temascal
Mexico Reserva Estatal de Dzilám
Mexico Ría Celestún
Mexico Ría Lagartos
USA Blackfoot Reservoir
USA Gunnison Bay/North Arm UT01
USA Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge
USA Bear River Bay UT02
Mexico Istmo de Tehuantepec - Mar Muerto
Mexico Bahía de Ceuta-Cospita
Mexico Laguna Cuyutlán y Estero Palo Verde
USA Chenier Plain
USA Lac Qui Parle - Big Stone IBA
Mexico Cuenca baja del Río Papagayo
Mexico Reserva de la Biosfera Barranca de Metztitlán
Mexico Presa de Valsequillo
Mexico Laguna de Tamiahua
Mexico Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano
Mexico Complejo de Humedales del Noroeste de Chihuahua
Mexico Presa Falcón
Mexico Presa Lago de Guadalupe
Mexico Presa Laguna de Zumpango
Mexico Complejo de Presas de Río Fuerte
Mexico Sistema Lagunar Playas de Catazajá
Mexico Sistema Lagunario Huizache-Caimanero
Mexico Marismas Nacionales
Mexico Laguna de Chapala
Mexico Estero Cardonal

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes major breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos. Downloaded from on 15/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 15/08/2020.