Pelicanus conspicillatus (PELECANIDAE) Pelican


Pelicans on water

The Australian Pelican, also know as Goolayyalibee, is a large water bird, widespread on the inland and coastal waters of Australia and New Guinea. This photo was taken at Wynnum Creek.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Close-up of Head

Medium-sized by pelican standards: 1.6 to 1.8 metres long with a wingspan of 2.3 to 2.5 metres and weighing between 4 and 7 kilograms. Predominantly white, with black and white wings and a pale, pinkish bill.

Photo: Derek Boddington

Pelicans on Land

The bills of pelicans are large, giving rise to the rhyme The Pelican by Dixon Lanier Merritt:

  • A wonderful bird is the pelican
  • His bill will hold more than his belican.
  • He can take in his beak
  • Enough food for a week
  • But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

The bills of the males are larger than those of the females.

Photo: Derek Boddington