Oscar, The Great White Pelican, has lived at the park for almost 22 years, and he would agree that the park had changed a lot in that time. He now lives alongside our seven African Penguins. Oscar is definitely a fond favourite with our visitors due to his impressive size!
Great White Pelicans can be found in fresh water lakes, swamps, marshes and river deltas in Africa, Southern Europe and Asia.
Wild diet consists mainly of fish. They will also eat invertebrates, crustaceans, tadpoles and even turtles. When food is scarce they will feed on chicks of the other bird species.
Great White Pelicans nest in large colonies, nests are made in scrapes in the ground. During breeding season males will become territorial and emit a low display call. Two large chalky white eggs are laid which are incubated for 29-36 days. Chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge at 65-75 days old.
These Pelicans are cooperative feeders, they will form a horseshoe or circle to concentrate the fish, they dip their heads into the water in unison to catch the fish.
They can live up to 30 years, but are often hunted for their meat, skin and feathers. Their swampy foraging habitat is gradually being lost to urbanisation but they are still holding on to their least concern conservation status.
Their natural predators in Africa are Crocodiles.
In spring these pelicans turn pink! This is due to a change in diet and also being ready to breed.