Listen to the sound of Dalmatian Pelican
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||310||cm||wingspan max.:||345||cm|
|size min.:||160||cm||size max.:||180||cm|
|incubation min.:||30||days||incubation max.:||32||days|
|fledging min.:||83||days||fledging max.:||32||days|
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.
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.
This 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 2-3C 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).
The wintering sites of the Dalmatian Pelican in south-east Europe, Turkey and former U.S.S.R. are well-known, but this does not apply to the Middle East (Iran, Iraq) or Asia (Pakistan, India, China), and several sites in these areas probably remain to be discovered. The January 1993 mid-winter counts in the Black Sea and Mediterranean (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Syria and Turkey) gave a figure of 1,463 individuals and in the Middle East and Asia 4,803 individuals. These numbers are low considering that the world population in January (including immatures) should be 12,000-16,000 individuals.