Pink-backed pelicans join African Savannah

Pink-backed pelicans join African Savannah

Now residing in the giraffe yard moat in the Zoo’s African Savannah exhibit are six pink-backed pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens). Native to Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Saudi Arabia, this species prefers a habitat of calm, shallow water with vegetation. The pink-backed pelican has a wingspan of nearly 8 feet and is covered in white and gray feathers. Despite its name, the pink plumage covering the bird’s back can only be seen when it expands its wings. The pelican is distinguished by the large, gray pouch beneath its bill that is used to scoop up prey and drain water before swallowing. The pink-backed pelican hunts in a group during dawn and dusk, feeding primarily on fish and some amphibians. The birds will surround a school of fish and violently flap their wings to disorient their prey and then scoop up large quantities into their pouches.

Posted by Katie Kreder at 5:33 PM