Pelican facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
A great white pelican
flying in Walvis Bay, Namibia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Pelecanidae
Rafinesque, 1815
Genus: Pelecanus
Linnaeus, 1758

Pelicans are a genus of large water birds of the family Pelecanidae. They have a long beak and a large throat pouch. They drain water from the contents before swallowing the fish. They have mostly pale plumage, the exceptions being the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species are brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone. They are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean.


  • Family Pelecanidae
    • Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)
    • Pink-backed pelican (Pelecanus rufescens)
    • Spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)
    • Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
    • Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
    • American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
    • Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
    • Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus)


Fliegender Pelikan
Pelikan in Hannover Zoo

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Pelican Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.