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Pink-backed Pelican | Pelecanus rufescens

The Pink-backed Pelican is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Pelecanidae bird family group which includes birds such as Pelicans.

The description for the Pink-backed Pelican (Latin name Pelecanus rufescens) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Pelecanus rufescens can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 50 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 615. You will find a picture of the Pink-backed Pelican on page 576.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Pink-backed Pelican between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Pink-backed Pelican is known in Afrikaans as Kleinpelikaan.

The Pink-backed Pelican has a height of 125 cms and weighs around 6000 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured yellow. The Pelecanus rufescens has a grey coloured throat, grey, pink legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey

Eyes are brown

Bill is yellow

Legs are grey, pink

Throat is grey

Back is grey

Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

The Pelecanus rufescens forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Pink-backed Pelican is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The Pink-backed Pelican is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

You can see the Pink-backed Pelican bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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