There are actually eight living pelican species within the Family Pelecanidae and the genus Pelecanus. Those species include the American white pelican, the brown pelican (which includes five different subspecies), the Peruvian pelican (which is an threatened species), the great white pelican, the Australian pelican, the pink-backed pelican, the Dalmatian pelican and the spot-billed pelican (the last two are also threatened species).
|Seen/Photographed in the wild
|American White Pelican
|Great White Pelican
I’ve managed to see both American species (brown and white) in the wild. While it has been quite a few years since I’ve seen the brown pelicans (those were observed down on South Padre Island, Texas about seven years ago)—I managed to spot a migrating white pelican at Boomer Lake earlier in November.
While the pelicans have a global range, they are not found in the interior portions of South America (which makes sense, since this is mostly rain forest), the poles (north & south), and the open ocean. I would assume that they are also absent from desert regions of the world, though they may fly over them when migrating to and from water sources.
Perhaps when the SARS-CoV2 pandemic is under control and traveling isn’t quite a nerve wracking, I’ll be planning a trip (or trips) to possibly try to get the picture of some of the other pelican species in the wild.