Meet the Dalmatian pelican - the largest and rarest of the pelican species with a wingspan up to 11 feet! Brand new to Arundel Wetland Centre these big birds are in the brand new Pelican Cove exhibit opening this April!
Dalmatian pelicans were a familiar sight in UK wetlands 2000 years ago, but they became extinct here as their wetland homes were drained and people hunted them for food. These big birds are built to fish with a huge throat pouch under an oversized beak that holds up to 3 buckets of water, acting like a net to scoop up prey.
Their new home on Pelican Cove was built in tandem with the brand new Coastal Creek aviary next door. We moved collection birds and relocated the fish and eels from the old World wildfowl exhibit in Nov 2019. Tree cuts that December were followed by earth movers in Jan 2020. The Covid 19 pandemic slowed construction down, as did a pair of oystercatchers who nested and raised two chicks in the middle of the construction site! The exhibit with its two islands where the pelicans will gather for daily feeds was completed in Dec 2020.
Dalmatian pelican released into its new home - Pelican Cove
The Dalmatian Pelicans are sharing their home with some noisy neighbours – the red breasted geese, nicknamed squeakers for their distinct “squeaky toy” call. The geese will help keep the grass in check as they love to graze plus their noisy presence will add some interest for the placid pelicans.