Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

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

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
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) 50,500,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 54,100,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2012
Population trend Unknown not applicable -
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) 15.5 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated at 265,000-295,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 4,900-5,600 pairs, which equates to 9,700-11,100 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). The population is therefore placed in the band 260,000-300,000 individuals.

Trend justification: The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing, stable, or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes Yes
Albania N Extant
Algeria V Extant
Angola N Extant
Armenia N Extant
Austria V Extant
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes Yes
Bahrain V Extant Yes
Bangladesh N Extant
Belarus V Extant Yes
Benin N Extant
Bosnia and Herzegovina N Extant
Botswana N Extant
Bulgaria N Extant Yes Yes
Burkina Faso N Extant
Burundi N Extant
Cambodia N Extant
Cameroon N Extant
Central African Republic N Extant
Chad N Extant
China (mainland) N Extant
Congo N Extant
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant
Croatia V Extant
Cyprus N Extant Yes Yes
Czechia V Extant
Denmark V Extant
Djibouti N Extant
Egypt N Extant
Eritrea N Extant
Eswatini V Extant
Ethiopia N Extant
Finland V Extant
France V Extant
Gabon N Extant
Gambia N Extant
Georgia N Extant Yes
Ghana N Extant
Greece N Extant Yes Yes
Guinea N Extant
Guinea-Bissau N Extant
Hungary N Extinct Yes
India N Extant
Indonesia N Extant
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Israel N Extant Yes Yes
Italy N Extant
Japan N Extant
Jordan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes
Kuwait N Extant Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Laos N Extant
Latvia V Extant
Lebanon N Extant Yes
Libya V Extant
Malawi N Extant
Malaysia N Extant
Maldives V Extant
Mali N Extant
Malta V Extant
Mauritania N Extant Yes
Montenegro N Possibly Extinct Yes
Morocco V Extant
Mozambique N Extant
Myanmar N Extant
Namibia N Extant Yes
Nepal N Extant
Netherlands V Extant
Niger N Extant
Nigeria N Extant
North Korea N Extant
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant
Oman V Extant Yes
Pakistan N Extant
Palestinian Authority Territories N Extant Yes
Poland V Extant
Portugal V Extant
Romania N Extant Yes Yes
Russia N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant
Russia (European) N Extant Yes Yes
Rwanda N Extant
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes
Serbia N Possibly Extinct Yes
Slovenia V Extant
Somalia N Extant
South Africa N Extant
South Korea N Extant
South Sudan N Extant Yes
Spain V Extant
Sri Lanka U Extant
Sudan N Extant
Switzerland V Extant
Syria N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant
Tanzania N Extant
Togo N Extant
Tunisia V Extant
Turkey N Extant Yes Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant
Uganda N Extant
Ukraine N Extant Yes Yes
United Arab Emirates V Extant Yes
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant
Western Sahara V Extant
Yemen N Extant Yes
Zambia N Extant Yes
Zimbabwe N Extant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Afghanistan Ab-i-Istada
Afghanistan Hamun-i-Puzak
Azerbaijan Kura Delta
Azerbaijan Sangachal Bay
Botswana Lake Ngami
Botswana Makgadikgadi Pans
Botswana Okavango Delta
Bulgaria Burgasko Lake
Bulgaria Mandra-Poda complex
Cameroon Waza National Park
Egypt Lake Nasser
Greece Evros delta
Greece Lake Kerkini
Greece Prespa National Park and Varnountas mountains
India Bardha Dam
India Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo)
India Saman Bird Sanctuary
India Sauj Lake
India Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary
Iran, Islamic Republic of Arjan Protected Area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hamoun-i Sabari and Hamoun-i Hirmand
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Bakhtegan, Lake Tashk and Kamjan marshes
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Uromiyeh
Iran, Islamic Republic of Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shur Gol, Yadegarlu and Dorgeh Sangi lakes
Israel Carmel coast
Israel Hefer valley
Israel Jezre'el, Harod and Bet She'an valleys
Israel Judean foothills
Israel Southern Arava valley and Elat mountains
Israel Zevulun valley
Kazakhstan Akzhar Lakes
Kazakhstan Ili River Delta
Kazakhstan Irgiz-Turgay Lakes
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea
Kazakhstan Naurzum State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Sarykopa Lake System
Kazakhstan Shoshkaly Lake System
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System
Kazakhstan Teniz-Karakamys Lakes
Kazakhstan Tentek River Delta
Kenya Lake Elmenteita
Kenya Lake Nakuru National Park
Kenya Tana River Delta
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo
Mali Séri
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park
Mauritania Diawling National Park
Namibia Etosha National Park
Pakistan Kirthar National Park (including Hub Dam)
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Iezerul Călăraşi
Romania Lake Beibugeac (Plopu)
Romania Lake Brateş
Romania Lake Bugeac
Romania Lake Dunăreni
Romania Lake Mostiştea
Romania Lake Oltina
Romania Lake Siutghiol
Romania Lake Taşaul
Romania Măcin - Niculiţel
Romania Prut river flood-plain - Vlădeşti - Frumuşiţa
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo
Russia (European) Lysyi Liman lake and valley of Vostochniy Manych river
Senegal Djoudj wetlands
Senegal Kalissaye Avifaunal Reserve
South Sudan Sudd (Bahr-el-Jebel system)
Tanzania Lake Eyasi
Tanzania Lake Manyara
Tanzania Lake Rukwa
Turkey Akşehir and Eber Lakes
Turkey Aktaş Lake
Turkey Amanos Mountains
Turkey Bendimahi Delta
Turkey Burdur Lake
Turkey Ereğli Plain
Turkey Kocaçay Delta
Turkey Manyas Lake (Kuş Lake)
Turkey Seyfe Lake
Turkey Tuz Lake
Turkey Uluabat Lake
Turkmenistan Nargyz
Turkmenistan Sarygamysh
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays
Ukraine Kytaj lake
Ukraine River Danube
Ukraine Sasyk lake
Ukraine Stentsivs'ko-Zhebriyanivs'ki plavni
Ukraine Yagorlyts'ka and Tendrivs'ka Bays
Uzbekistan Akpetky lakes and surrounding Aralkum Desert
Uzbekistan Ayakaghytma lake and surrounding desert
Uzbekistan Dzheiran Ecocentre
Uzbekistan Northern shore of Aydarkul Lake
Uzbekistan Sudochye Lake
Uzbekistan Talimardzhan Reservoir
Uzbekistan Tudakul and Kuymazar Reservoirs
Uzbekistan Zholdyrbas Lake
Zambia Kafue Flats
Zambia Mweru Wantipa National Park

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools major breeding
Altitude 0 - 1372 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Scale Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - - Non-trivial Recent
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - - International Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - - Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Pelecanus onocrotalus. Downloaded from on 23/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/01/2020.