Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
Dalmatian Pelican

Dalmatian Pelican

Pelecanus crispus

The Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus, stands as a majestic figure among birds, holding the title of the largest pelican species and potentially the world's heftiest freshwater avian. Its impressive wingspan competes with that of the great albatrosses, and in flight, its flocks exhibit a mesmerizing, synchronized grace. This pelican's plumage lacks the pinkish hues seen in some relatives, instead boasting a silvery-white elegance, with a unique mane of curly feathers adorning its head and neck.

Identification Tips

Adult Dalmatian Pelicans are distinguished by their silvery-white plumage, which transitions to a more subdued grey in the winter months. The species is characterized by curly nape feathers, grey legs, and a bill that shifts from a vibrant orange-red lower mandible during breeding season to a muted yellow in the off-season. In flight, their wings are a solid grey with black tips, a trait that sets them apart from other pelicans.


These pelicans favor a variety of wetland habitats, including lakes, rivers, deltas, and estuaries. Unlike their close relatives, they are not strictly confined to lowland areas and can be found nesting at various elevations.


The Dalmatian Pelican's range extends across Central Eurasia, from the Mediterranean to the Taiwan Strait, and from the Persian Gulf to Siberia. They are considered short-to-medium-distance migrants, moving between breeding and overwintering locales.


Dalmatian Pelicans are less social than other pelican species, often nesting in smaller groups or even solitarily. They exhibit a strong fidelity to traditional breeding sites, constructing their nests on islands or dense vegetation mats. Their flight is characterized by an elegant soaring motion, with the entire flock moving in unison.

Song & Calls

Typically silent outside of the breeding season, Dalmatian Pelicans can become quite vocal when courting, producing a range of deep, guttural sounds including barks, hisses, and grunts.


Breeding season sees these birds returning to familiar sites, where they build crude nests of vegetation. The Dalmatian Pelican lays one to six eggs, with two being most common. Both parents share incubation duties, and the young fledge at around 85 days old.

Similar Species

The Great White Pelican shares a similar size range but can be differentiated by its pure white plumage, larger size sexual dimorphism, and different breeding habits.

Diet and Feeding

Dalmatian Pelicans primarily consume fish, with a daily requirement of around 1,200 grams. They forage alone or in small groups, dipping their heads underwater to scoop up prey with their expansive bill pouches.

Conservation status

The Dalmatian Pelican is classified as Near Threatened, with a population that experienced a significant decline in the 20th century. Conservation efforts, including habitat management and the construction of artificial nesting platforms, have been implemented to stabilize and increase their numbers.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Dalmatian Pelicans on Birda


More Pelicans

A photo of a Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican

Pelecanus conspicillatus
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Love Birda
I love this app. It really encourages you to log your sightings and the community is friendly and helpful.
Paul F
Very good database
Highly recommend. It great that this app shows you male Vs female variations when posting. Very good database I'm really impressed.
Carl B
Helped me to identify more birds
Love this app and has helped me to identify more birds. The challenges and badges are great for keeping the motivation going to get out and keep birding.
Such a great app!
I didn’t think I could enjoy birding more but this app makes it so much better. Some great features and a really great way to share your sightings with your friends or fellow birders nearby or around the world! ❤️
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
Great app for learning Birds
I’ve been using the app for a couple of months and love it....Someone said it’s like a real life Pokémon Go for birds. They’re not far off! It’s something that the family can do that gets you out and about. Well worth downloading no matter your age.
Simply fantastic
I love this app, it puts so much fun into recording the birds I’ve seen and heard while I’m out and about. The interface is user-friendly and suitable for all ages. It’s great to collect badges and to review my “lists”.
Safira V
Birding and wellbeing app
Birda is an excellent platform to share your love of Birding and is a great tool of encouragement for a Birding Beginner like me. Birda has a very kind and supportive community of Birding enthusiasts. For me BIRDA is not only a BIRDING but also a WELLBEING App.
Erna M
I really like Birda
I really like Birda. I also use other birding apps and have Birda with E-bird going at the same time.
Hip An
Really enjoying Birda where I live i have a lot of Red kites really hard to photograph but I can video are you planning some place on the app where us Birda can post vids🦉🦅
As featured in
Birda Logo
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.