Brevard County

9 facts about Great White Pelicans

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — You’ve heard of great white shark sightings, but what about the Great White Pelican sightings? Here are nine facts about the rare bird:

1. Birdwatchers from across the country have flocked to Cape Canaveral to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Great White Pelican.

2. The bird has a yellow face, pinkish feathers and an 11-foot wingspan.

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3. The species of pelican is native to Africa and Europe.

4. It is unknown why the species has appeared along Florida’s east coast, but a University of Central Florida researcher said they are working to learn if it could be due to climate change.

5. The species was spotted twice, in 2017 and 2018, on Florida’s Gulf coast, but it is the first sighting in Central Florida. Scientists don’t yet know if the two sightings are the same bird.

Read: Great white shark tracked to 100 miles from Florida shore

6. The bird was spotted Feb. 3 on Black Point Wildlife Drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Since then, it was seen in that same area on two other days in early February. See a map of the area below:

7. The bird was among a group of 200 American white pelicans, its smaller cousin.

8. Adult, male Great White Pelicans can weigh more than 30 pounds.

9. The species is highly social and often forms large flocks.

Read: Maryland man arrested for attacking pelican in Florida Keys

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly,

Jason Kelly joined WFTV in 2014.