The American White Pelican is a large, web-footed bird with an enormous throat pouch. It eats mostly fish, and it catches them by scooping them up in this pouch as it swims. They also eat frogs and salamanders.
Although pelicans are awkward-looking birds, they are very graceful in flight. They fly in flocks in long lines, with their elongated necks bent back over their bodies. They flap their wings slowly, and often glide.
Pelicans are heavy-bodied birds with short legs and thick, rough plumage. They are white with black wing tips and a yellow throat pouch. They are 127 to 165 cm (50 to 64 in.) long and have a wingspan of up to 3 m (10 ft.).
In spring, a thin, flat horn forms temporarily on the beak of adult birds of both sexes. It is shed after the eggs are laid.
American White Pelican nesting colonies are found on remote, treeless islands and are distributed mostly from the Canadian prairie, south to southern California and the Texas Gulf Coast. A large proportion of the birds nest in Canada. They winter from the southern United States to Guatemala.
A brood generally consists of two young. They eat regurgitated food from the pouch and throat of the mother. Each fledgling will consume about 70 kg (154 lb.) of regurgitated food in the weeks before it begins to fly.