What is the Largest Flying Bird in Florida? 

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There are so many big size birds living in Florida. Some bird species are water birds, some are flying birds.

Today you will know about the one and only largest flying birds that are native to Florida. The largest flying bird in Florida is the American White Pelican.

It is a huge bird with 1.2 meters in length and 14 kg of weight. This migratory bird breeds in the Northern United States and Canada and winters in Florida.

It is commonly found in freshwater habitats including lakes, rivers, and marshes. Now let’s go further into the details about these birds. 

American White Pelican – The Largest Flying Bird in Florida

If we talk about the largest flying birds in the world, this American White Pelican is one of them. It is a large bird that is found in Florida and as well as other parts of the United States.

American White Pelicans can reach up to 1.2 meters in length and almost 14 kg of body weight. Now let’s know about the American White Pelican Physical characteristics, habitat, and behaviour. 

Related: What are the Black Noisy Birds in Florida?

Physical Characteristics: 

American White Pelican body size is huge. You can easily identify these bird species even from a long distance its large body size, colour combination, and long beaks and feet. Now let’s go further into American White Pelican physical characteristics.

American White Pelican Size
image: American White Pelican Size

Size and weight: The American White Pelican is one of the largest flying birds in Florida with a 9 meters wingspan. It has 1.2 meters (4 feet) body length and a weight of around 13.6 kg (up to 30 pounds). The male and females are similar in size and weight.

Colour: The American White Pelican has white plumage with black feathers visible only when in flight. During the breeding season, it develops a yellow and orange crest on its head. It has a long pink colour bill with a yellow tip and brown eyes.

Bill and Feet: The American White Pelican has a large 18 inches long bill. The bill helps them scoop fish. The feet have four toes. 

Related: Large Black Birds in Florida

Habitat and Distribution: 

The American White Pelican has a big range with breeding grounds in Canada and wintering grounds in Florida. In this section, I will provide more information about its habitat and distribution. 

American White Pelican Habitat
image: American White Pelican Habitat

Breeding Range: The American White Pelican breeds in large colonies in freshwater wetlands. It is also nested on the ground in shallow water.

Winter Range: During the winter, The American White Pelican migrates to the southern United States, including Florida, and Mexico. It can be found in freshwater habitats like lakes, rivers, and wetlands. 

Habitat: The American White Pelican always prefers freshwater habitats, where fish is available. It is rarely found in saltwater habitats.

Related: Black Birds in Florida


American White Pelican behavior
image: American White Pelican behaviour

The American Flamingo is a social bird that is always found in large flocks. Now let’s go into further details about its behaviour. 

Feeding Habits: American White Pelican primarily eats fish. They feed by swimming on the surface of the water and catch the fish by its bill.

It has unique feeding behaviour where it will help another pelican to catch fish in shallow water. They can also catch fish while in flight.

One interesting feeding behaviour of these birds is they can consume up to 2 kg of fish per day

Related: Green Birds in Florida

Breeding Behavior: The American White Pelican breeds in large colonies, with up to 10,000 pairs in a single colony. They always lay two eggs, which hatch after a month. 

Migration: The American White Pelican is a migratory bird, also known for its long-distance flight. It migrates from its breeding grounds in Canada to its wintering grounds in Florida. 

Conservation Status:

The American White Pelican is not listed as a threatened or endangered species now. However, it has faced threats in the past like habitat loss, pollution, oil spills, and disturbance from human activities.

Related: Small Black Birds in Florida


In conclusion, The American White Pelican is the largest flying bird in Florida, with a wingspan of 2.7 meters and a weight of up to 14 kg. It is easily recognizable by its white plumage and black primary feathers. Overall, the American White Pelican is an impressive bird and an important part of Florida’s biodiversity. 

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