Pelecanus Crispus  is huge, whitish waterbird. Silvery-white breeding plumage. Yellow to purple bare skin around eyes. Orange-red gular pouch at onset of breeding becoming yellow later. Pale grey underwing becoming darker at wing-tips. Bushy crest on nape. Similar spp. White Pelican P. onocrotalus is slightly smaller, has yellow gular pouch, more extensive bare skin around eye, downward hanging crest, pink legs and all-dark flight feathers. Voice Barking, hissing and grunting calls at colonies

Dalmatian Pelican very large pelican has a discontinuous breeding range from the Balkan Peninsula to Mongolia. Since the last century its western populations have undergone a dramatic decrease and its distribution has considerably contracted. The population of northern Greece, currently the only breeding population of the European Union, is estimated at about 220 breeding pairs, about 50% of the total European population. During ancient times pelicans appear to have been spread widely through western Europe. Considering that the temperature during the Paleolithic period was 2-3°C higher than today it is possible that the Dalmatian Pelican bred over a large part of western Europe at this time. During this century and last, a strong decline has occurred in Europe with breeding colonies disappearing in former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Albania, Greece, Mongolia, former U.S.S.R., Romania and Turkey. Today, the species breeds in Albania, Bulgaria, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia only), Greece, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  The best estimate of the world population is 3,215-4,280 pair. The former U.S.S.R. (Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) harbours 80-84% of this, and the next most important country, Greece, has 6-8%. European numbers are estimated at 886-1,204 pairs (c.30% of the world population).

Dalmatian Pelicans are absent from cold regions, although they will tolerate temperatures below 0°C for short periods (7-10 days). Originally, the species was probably found only in fresh water inland, but today there are a few colonies in brackish lagoon ecosystems in the Mediterranean region.
For breeding and roosting the birds need areas totally isolated from the mainland by water (e.g. islands, sand banks, reedbeds surrounded by water) in order to avoid predation by mammals (foxes, dogs, wolves, wild boars, jackals, etc.) and disturbance. The absence of adequate roosting areas can prevent pelicans using a site at any time of year.
The hydrological regime within wetlands is a further key factor in successful breeding, and also in the pelicans’ use of wetlands for other purposes. For example, the presence of shallow water is important for the successful spawning of fish which form the birds’ food, and Dalmatian Pelicans need wetlands with a rather high density of fish. Water transparency and depth are not important factors for successful foraging.

Breeding colonies are located on lakes, deltas and estuaries, preferably within reedbeds. Breeding birds usually arrive in February, and laying generally occurs 10 days later. The birds lay up to four eggs and the average clutch is 1.8. Incubation lasts 31-32 days and fledging takes 11-12 weeks. The main mortality during breeding is at the egg stage; hatching success varying from 35 to 70%. Contrary to common belief, the Dalmatian Pelican can easily rear two chicks and fledging success in a well-protected colony is over one chick per nest, up to a maximum of 1.35. Even in a protected area, however, breeding success can be less than one chick fledged per nest. At Srébarna, a Nature Reserve in Bulgaria, for example, average success between 1955 and 1993 was 0.84 chicks per nest with a coefficient of variation of 30%; this lower success might be explained by predation, especially by wild boars Sus scrofa destroying nests with eggs or killing chicks.

With the present state of knowledge of the population dynamics of pelicans it would appear that a success rate in the Dalmatian Pelican of 0.8 chicks per nest should be at least sufficient to keep the population stable. A success rate of over one chick per nest should ensure an increasing population.

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