Family Pelicans (Pelecanidae)

Near Threatened

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)


French: Pélican frisé German: Krauskopfpelikan Spanish: Pelícano ceñudo

Pelecanus crispus


, 1832,



Part of a clade that includes also P. philippensis, P. rufescens and P. conspicillatus#R. Formerly considered conspecific with P. philippensis, but quite distinct in morphology and nesting habits. Monotypic.


Breeds in SE Europe (Serbia and Montenegro S to Greece, E to S Ukraine and S Russia) and E in Asia to Kazakhstan and W Mongolia, and also, in S, in W & NE Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and W China (Xinjiang). W populations disperse mostly to E Mediterranean region; those from Russia and C Asia migrate to S Iraq, S Iran and Indian Subcontinent, and Mongolian breeders move to E China (S to Hong Kong). During warm periods of the mid-Holocene distribution range included areas on NW Europe as Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark,  as shown by DNA analysis of subfossil bones#R.

Descriptive notes

160–183 cm; 10–13 kg; wingspan 295–345 cm; bill 370–450 mm. Breeding adult has upperparts and tail chalky white, feathers of head and neck more or... read more


Grunts and groans, and hissing calls, also explosive calls. In alarm utters "wo-wo-wo" sounds. Bill... read more


Rivers, lakes, deltas, estuaries. Similar to P. onocrotalus, but does not need lowlands... read more

Food and feeding

Fish, especially carp (Cyprinus carpio), perch (Perca fluviatilis) and rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus); also... read more


Breeds in spring, starting late Mar/Apr, earlier than P. onocrotalus. Ground nester, often on floating islands of vegetation; can... read more


Dispersive in Europe, migratory in Asia. Arrives Danube Delta during Mar, leaves Aug. European... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Global population calculated in 2017 at a minimum of 5693–6694 breeding pairs, and possibly as many as... read more

Recommended citation

Elliott, A., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 August 2019).