You go first!

It really looks like these two are debating as to who should brave the freezing Atlantic Ocean first! Great White Pelicans at Henties Bay, Namibia (©WMB)

I could not identify these pelicans. My friend Dave (an ecologist) said he first thought I’d discovered a new species (his suggested name: The Giant Brown Pelican! ;-)), until he realized that the brown bird is closer to the camera, which would make these a juvenile (brownish bird) and an adult (white bird) Great White Pelican (also known as the Eastern White Pelican).


About lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)
This entry was posted in Nature ● Environment, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to You go first!

  1. Laura says:

    Great picture. I guess they’re native birds, but they really do look like a couple of tourists having a conversation.

  2. smileonlife says:

    What a beautiful photo. I love the title and description. It’s nice to see a variety of pelicans other than the Australian ones to which I am used to seeing/photographing. Thank you very much for sharing…this made me smile 🙂

  3. Heh. I’d never have guessed they weren’t standing next to each other! Definitely looks like they’re having a chat.

  4. Great image! Although the white pelicans that breed in Prespa are arriving here from Africa in their hundreds right now I’ve only ever seen one other photo of a bird that dark. You might not have found a new species, but a white pelican that colour is quite rare indeed!

    • Thanks! So what do the juvenile pelicans in Prespa look like?

      • Along with the great white pelican we have Dalmatian pelicans breeding here, but to the best of my knowledge they aren’t found in Africa. Juvenile white pelicans are generally a dirty grey on their backs and flight feathers with a white or off-white neck. Also their legs tend to be pinkish-yellow, which is also different from the one in the photo, though light can be misleading.

        But leafing through ‘The Book of Pelicans’ this morning written by a Greek biologist, Giorgos Catsadorakis, a bird specialist who used to live in Prespa, there is a photo of a very dark and unusual juvenile white pelican standing out like a black sheep amongst the others! That’s the rare variation of white pelican I believe you’ve photographed on the shore. I can’t think of any other explanation to be honest!

      • Yes, I don’t think we see Dalmatian pelicans this far south. I have just found out that the American White Pelican is different from our Great White Pelican (also known here as the Eastern Pelican). Who knew?! Well, you probably did since you have an interest in pelicans! I found one of your earlier pelican posts on your site.

        What we see here in Southern Africa is a lot of colour variation in birds from different areas. For example, the Tawny Eagle can be a very dark brown to a pale buff colour depending what region you’re in.

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