Family Pelicans (Pelecanidae)

Near Threatened

Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus)


French: Pélican thage German: Chilepelikan Spanish: Pelícano alcatraz

Pelecanus Thagus


, 1782,



Part of a clade that includes also P. occidentalis and P. erythrorhynchos#R. Often considered a subspecies of P. occidentalis, but differs in its greater size (data weak but probably at least 2); proportionately longer crest (at least 1); blue-and-dark-striped gular pouch (3); red on lower mandible extending >50% vs <50% length of bill from tip, with basal section of upper mandible yellower vs more horn-coloured (2); whitish vs grey scapulars (2); whitish vs grey greater coverts on all secondaries except for blackish innermost covering blackish tertials, creating strong contrast (ns[2]); small black papillae in loral area vs none (ns[2])#R#R. Monotypic.


Breeds on coasts from N Peru (Piura) S to 33.5° S in C Chile; ranges N to S Ecuador#R and S to S Chile#R.

Descriptive notes

137–152 cm; 5055–7030 g; wingspan 228 cm. Larger than P. occidentalis, tends to have longer nuchal white crest at start of breeding season, scapulars and tertial... read more


No information.


Strictly marine, very rarely inland. Prefers shallow inshore waters along coast, including... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly fish, with largest congregations in areas with abundant Peruvian anchovies (Engraulis ringens), apparently tending to feed... read more


Breeds in loose colonies on rocky coasts, often on offshore islands. Pairs nest in discrete groups of different sizes, ranging from ten to... read more


Most populations resident and dispersive. One recorded in Mar 2008 in São Paulo (SE Brazil) and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. The global population is estimated by Wetlands International to be in the range of  100,000–1,000,000... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus). 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 30 March 2020).