Currently set to Index
Currently set to Follow

19 Birds that Look Like Pelicans (List with Pictures)

Birds that Look Like Pelicans

Examples of birds that look like pelicans include the African spoonbill, American white ibis, black-faced spoonbill, brown pelican, and Chinese Egret.

Pelicans are large, aquatic birds that are found in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. There are several species of pelicans, but all of them share certain characteristics, such as a large bill and a pouch under their beak that they use to catch food.

Pelicans typically reside near water bodies, such as lakes and rivers. While they are not the only birds that have a pouch under their bill, they are easily recognized by their distinctive shape and coloring.


In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the birds that resemble pelicans. We will discuss what makes these birds unique and how to distinguish them from actual pelicans.

Examples of Birds that Look Like Pelicans

1. African Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea alba
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout most of sub-Saharan Africa

The African spoonbill is a large, white bird that is found in Africa. It gets its name from its long, spoon-shaped bill.

The African spoonbill has a black mark on its face, which some people believe resembles a mask. It also has a black line running down the center of its belly.

The African spoonbill is a wading bird, which means that it often hangs out in shallow water, such as marshes and lakes. When it spots its prey, it will use its bill to scoop up the food.

Related Article: 25 Birds that Fly at Night

2. American White Ibis

Scientific NameEudocimus albus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the Caribbean, on both coasts of Mexico (from Baja California southwards) and Central America, and as far south as Colombia and Venezuela

The American white ibis (Eudocimus albus) is a wading bird that is found in the southeastern United States. It is similar to the pelican in several ways, including its long, curved bill and its white plumage. However, there are several key differences between these two birds.

For one, the American white ibis is much smaller than the pelican. It also has a shorter bill and lacks the distinctive pouch that pelicans have. Finally, the American white ibis has red eyes, whereas pelicans have yellow eyes.

Related Article: 30 Birds that Hover

3. Black-Faced Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea minor
Type of AnimalBird
Rangea few small rocky islands off the west coast of North Korea, with four wintering sites at Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam

The black-faced spoonbill is a wading bird that is found in parts of Asia and Australia. It gets its name from its long, black bill, which is shaped like a spoon. These birds are mostly white with some black on their face, neck, and wings. They can grow to be about three feet tall and have a wingspan of approximately five feet.

The black-faced spoonbill feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and insects that it finds in shallow water. It uses its bill to sweep through the water and filter out its food. These birds are social creatures and often travel in groups.

4. Brown Pelican

Scientific NamePelecanus occidentalis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern and western sea coasts

The Brown Pelican is the most common type of pelican found in North America. They are mostly brown, with white on their undersides. Their large bill has a hook at the end, which they use to catch fish.

5. Chinese Egret

Scientific NameEgretta eulophotes
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeon small islands off the coasts of far eastern Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and mainland China

The Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes) is a white bird that is found in East Asia. It is considered to be a close relative of the western systematics. The Chinese egret has a long, yellow bill and black legs. Its pouch is not as prominent as that of a pelican.

6. Eurasian Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea leucorodia
Type of AnimalBird
RangeEurope, Asia, and Africa

The Eurasian spoonbill is a large bird that is found in Europe and Asia. It gets its name from its bill, which is shaped like a spoon. This bird is all white with a black tip on its bill. It has a wingspan of up to six feet.

The Eurasian spoonbill feeds on fish, crustaceans, and insects. It uses its bill to sweep through the water, catching its prey. This bird is not as common as the pelican, but it can be found in some of the same areas.

7. Great Egret

Scientific NameArdea alba
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWest Indies or southern Central America

The Great Egret is a large bird that is found in North and Central America. It is all white with a long neck and legs. It has a yellow bill and black feet. The Great Egret can grow to be over three feet tall.

The Great Egret feeds on fish, frogs, snakes, and insects. It uses its long bill to stab prey and then swallow it whole. The Great Egret is a protected species in the United States.

The Great Egret is often confused with the American White Pelican. However, there are several ways to tell them apart. The Great Egret has a black stripe that runs down the center of its bill, while the American White Pelican does not.

Also, the Great Egret has yellow feet, while the American White Pelican has webbed feet that are pink in color. Finally, the Great Egret is a bit smaller than the American White Pelican.

8. Intermediate Egret

Scientific NameArdea intermedia
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAfrica South of the Sahara, across southern Asia to Japan, and southward into Australia

The Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia) is a white bird with black legs and yellow feet. It is found in Africa, Asia, and Australia. This egret has a long neck and bill, and it often stands in water to feed on fish.

Like pelicans, the Intermediate Egret has a pouch under its bill. However, its bill is not as large or curved as a pelican’s. In addition, the Intermediate Egret has black wingtips, whereas pelicans have white wingtips.

9. Little Egret

Scientific NameEgretta garzetta
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern Europe, the Middle East, much of Africa, and southern Asia

The little egret (Egretta garzetta) is a member of the heron family. It is found in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The little egret is a white bird with black legs and bill. It has a long neck and a long, slender body.

The little egret typically feeds on small fish, amphibians, and reptiles. It uses its long neck and bill to reach into shallow water to catch its prey.

10. Marabou Stork

Scientific NameLeptoptilos crumenifer
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout Sub-Saharan Africa

The Marabou Stork is a large bird that is native to Africa. It has a long neck, legs, and bill. The Marabou Stork also has a pouch under its beak that it uses to catch food. However, unlike pelicans, the Marabou Stork does not have a webbed foot.

The Marabou Stork is a scavenger bird and is often seen feeding on carrion. It has a bare head and neck, which are sometimes covered in feathers. The Marabou Stork is also bald on its legs.

11. Roseate Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea ajaja
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the entire Gulf of Mexico coastline, south to Central America, South America, and the West Indies

The roseate spoonbill is a large wading bird that is found in the Americas. It gets its name from its pink plumage and long, spoon-shaped bill. This bird is often confused with the pelican because of its similar appearance.

However, there are several key differences between the two birds. For one, the spoonbill’s bill is not as large or as deep as the pelican’s. Additionally, the spoonbill has a feathered crest on its head, while pelicans do not.

12. Royal Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea regia
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAustralia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, the bird species is also sometimes seen in New Caledonia

The royal spoonbill (Platalea regia) is a large wading bird that is found in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Papua New Guinea. It gets its name from its spoon-shaped bill, which it uses to filter food from the water. The royal spoonbill is all white with a black cap and yellow eyes. It has a wingspan of up to 82 inches (208 cm).

13. Snow Goose

Scientific NameAnser caerulescens
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe Arctic regions of North America, including Greenland

The snow goose (Anser caerulescens) is a species of bird that is similar in size and shape, but they have white plumage with black wingtips. Snow geese are typically found in North America, but they can also be found in Europe and Asia.

14. Snowy Egret

Scientific NameEgretta thula
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe United States and southern Canada, south through Central America, the West Indies, South America, and Argentina

The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is a small, white bird that is found in North and South America. It has a black bill and yellow eyes. The Snowy Egret feeds on fish, amphibians, and insects. It can often be seen wading in shallow water with its bill open, waiting for prey to swim by.

15. Trumpeter Swan

Scientific NameCygnus buccinator
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewetlands in remote Alaska, Canada, and the northwestern U.S., and winter on ice-free coastal and inland waters

The trumpeter swan is the largest species of swan in North America. It is similar to the pelican in that it has a large bill and a pouch under its beak. However, the trumpeter swan has a longer neck and is much larger than the pelican. Its wingspan can reach up to 10 feet (3 meters).

The trumpeter swan is all white with a black beak. It gets its name from the fact that it can make a trumpet-like sound.

16. Whooping Crane

Scientific NameGrus americana
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWood Buffalo National Park

The Whooping Crane is a large bird that is found in North America. Like the pelican, it has a long neck and a bill. However, its plumage is entirely white, with the exception of its black wingtips. When in flight, the Whooping Crane can reach heights of up to 10 feet (3 meters).

Whooping Cranes are the tallest birds in North America and are one of the rarest crane species in the world. There are only around 600 Whooping Cranes in existence, making them a highly endangered species.

17. Wood Stork

Scientific NameMycteria americana
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewetland preserve or wildlife area along the coast in Florida, South Carolina, or Georgia

The wood stork is a large bird that can be found in the southeastern United States. It has a long, thick bill and a bare head. The wood stork’s plumage is mostly white, with some black on its wings.

The wood stork is a wading bird, meaning that it spends time in shallow water looking for food. Wood storks eat fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals.

18. Yellow-Billed Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea flavipes
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAustralia

The yellow-billed spoonbill is a wading bird that is found in Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It gets its name from its long, curved bill, which it uses to scoop up food from the water. While its bill is similar to a pelican’s, the yellow-billed spoonbill does not have a pouch.

19. Yellow-Billed Stork

Scientific NameMycteria ibis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeprimarily in Eastern Africa, but is widely distributed in areas extending from Senegal and Somalia down to South Africa and in some regions of western Madagascar

The yellow-billed stork is a large bird that is found in Africa. Like pelicans, they have a large bill and a pouch under their beak. They also share the same body shape and coloring.

However, there are some key differences between these two birds. For one, the yellow-billed stork has a much longer neck. Additionally, their beak is curved, while the pelican’s beak is straight.

Conclusion

Birds that look like pelicans can be found all over the world. While they may not share the same features, these birds have been known to cause confusion for many people. Some of the most common birds that are mistaken for pelicans include storks, cranes, and ibises.

Skip to content