Three Pink-Backed Pelicans Join Water’s Edge: Africa

October 1, 2020

Three pink-backed pelicans joined the African penguins at Water’s Edge: Africa today! Pandora, Plato and Penelope have moved into the penguin building, where they will stay for a few days to settle in before beginning to explore the outdoor penguin areas, too.

Pink-backed pelicans have a wingspan of 7 to 9 feet, but they’re one of the smaller species of pelicans. They’re native to lakes, rivers and ponds throughout southern Africa. They are named for the pale pinkish hue on their backs that can be seen when they stretch out their wings.

The three pelicans lived with African penguins at their previous AZA-accredited zoo in Maryland, so they’re used to sharing space with them. Keepers say the penguins have been giving the pelicans space this afternoon and have responded well to their presence.

Pandora, a 4-year-old female, will live at CMZoo temporarily while her new exhibit and breeding partner prepare for her arrival at another AZA-accredited zoo. 4-year-old male, Plato, and 4-year-old female, Penelope, will live here for the foreseeable future as companions to each other and our penguin flock.

Their keepers say the three large birds are really curious and have been exploring the exhibit. Just like our flock of 17 African penguins, once the pelicans feel comfortable, they will have the opportunity to share sidewalks with guests on Boulder Beach, at Water’s Edge.

Next time you’re at the Zoo, swing by and say hello to our new pelican ambassadors.