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Melbourne Zoo

Australian Pelican

The two Australian Pelicans in the wetlands area of Wild Sea were found in the wild with injuries and brought to Melbourne Zoo for treatment. They have remained at the Zoo ever since. Although pelicans are found over large parts of Australia, for many city-dwellers, the Wild Sea at the Zoo is a rare opportunity to see these delightful birds. 

Australian Pelicans are not a species presently at risk. However, many individual birds are at risk from fishing waste: hooks, fishing line and nets abandoned in areas where these and other marine wildlife live. Your local council or community can play a big part in protecting marine wildlife by installing Seal the Loop bins to collect fishing waste and help reduce rates of marine wildlife entanglement.

Meeting the pelicans at Melbourne Zoo is an important way to connect with the animals of Australia, and to learn about the Zoo’s conservation programs, especially those aimed at conserving threatened native species. The money you spend helps to support the Zoo’s conservation programs. 

Australian Pelicans are found throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Indonesia. They will travel great distances to find food and may form large flocks of hundreds of birds. These flocks will sometimes work together to capture food, driving fish into shallow water where they can more easily be caught.

Pelicans have very wide wingspans: up to 2.6 metres. Their most characteristic feature of course is their long bill (40–50cm) and throat pouch.