Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

American White Pelican

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos


White with black primaries and outer secondaries. These are breeding pairs. Juveniles have a black or blackish head/neck some of these are nursing younger Pelicans. They are a gorgeous Big White Bird!


They are prevelant in Montana especially the eastern parts where the rains have filled up, rather submerged the Great Plains. They are breeders in lakes and more likely non breeders in Rivers. They are a big attraction in Yellowstone Park... but for me it's a just a 30 min drive


These pix were taken at Halfbreed National Wildlife Reserve. It has not had water in it for 10 or more years. The area is surrounded by Prairie Dog towns and colonies and the requisite Borrowing Owls. It also has a fine population of Great Plains Toads, Horney Toads and Tiger Salamanders... now that we're getting waaaaaaaay more than usual rain. As i was sneaking up, they started kettling above me first very low - maybe 35 or 40 of them and higher and higher they went then flew back down to a Pelican social on the waters to my left of these individual pix. Perhaps to say 'welcome' !? i was no doubt the first person on the premises in 10 years... and not a person many miles.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Hema 10 years ago

great pics!

Darwin26 10 years ago

Hi Alice, no, their pretty smart, they migrate to the Gulf Coast states from FL around to Texas and along the Mexican coast and along the Baja penninsula both sides up to the Central CA Coast, with some in AZ and NM.
There are about 20,000 breeding pairs in the US mostly in Montana and N.Dakota trailing a bit over to Utah, ID and NV. They are a pleasant sight in Yellowstone Nat'l Park; And about 50,000 breeding pairs in Canada.

alicelongmartin 10 years ago

Do they stay the winter? Nice picture.

Spotted by

Billings, Montana, USA

Spotted on Aug 13, 2011
Submitted on Sep 30, 2011

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team