Pelican vs Pigeon | Do Pelican Eats Pigeon And Other Birds?

Pelicans are beautiful white birds. I am a pet owner and have different birds on my bird farm. Recently, I became a pelican parent. I bought 5 pelicans and added them to my open farm.

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

I was unaware of their eating behavior and was surprised to see one day that they ate a whole pigeon from the farm. I was surprised and bewildered when I saw this activity in front of my eyes.

I researched a lot about these birds and came to know about their eating behavior. I have shared many insights on the eating behavior of Pelicans so that you can keep your birds safe and treat them in a better manner.

Why do pelicans eat pigeons?

Pelicans are strange birds when it comes to their eating behavior. They generally eat pigeons and other birds because to them these birds are like a potential food item.

Pelicans generally feed on various types of fish and this makes them adaptable to eating flesh. In the case of appetite, they generally do not differentiate between the types of animals.

Major birds of moderate size can be eaten by Pelicans. Some people have often reported that they saw pelicans trying to eat several birds and smaller animals.

This is the major reason why pelicans do not hesitate when it comes to eating pigeons and other birds.

Can pelicans eat pigeons alive?

Yes, in several cases Pelicans can eat pigeons alive. If the parrot can fit in their mouth pouch they will easily eat it alive. 

Pelicans are not considered shy birds and they show no mercy when it comes to filling their bellies.

Pelican eating a pigeon video:

In recent times, it is not a rare thing that you fill find a pelican eating several birds. Even you can find several videos of Pelicans eating pigeons alive.

What is the difference in the eating behavior of Pelican and Pigeons?

The eating behavior of Pelicans and parrots is slightly different. Pigeons have small beaks as compared to pelicans having long pointed beaks.

Pigeons’ beaks can only hold very small-sized food and as a result, they can not eat big birds and other such food items.

Pigeons are very selective in food size when it comes to eating. They generally feed on grains, fruit pieces, small insects, and other such food items, on the other hand, Pelicans can eat big birds, bigger fruit pieces, insects, and much more due to their longer and bigger beaks.

Which varieties of pelicans can eat pigeons?

The white pelicans are known to eat pigeons. They can eat a whole pigeon alive in several minutes. White pelicans can eat several other birds like pigeons, parrots, and much more quite easily.

Can pelican digest pigeon?

Yes, Pelicans can easily digest pigeons. The process of digestion of pigeons in pelicans is very interesting.

The pelicans swallow the whole pigeons slowly and the pigeons reach into the stomach of the pelicans through the esophagus (food pipe).

Pelicans have a secondary stomach too, known as the crop(present almost in all birds).In some cases, the pigeon may be stored in the crop for some time.

Here the digestive juices and the functionary crop processes make the pigeon ready for digestion in the stomach.

In the stomach, the pigeon is digested first in the glandular stomach( proventriculus). Here first the hydrochloric acid acts on the food item and then pepsin.

These enzymes and acids help in the digestion of proteins. Other major enzymes are released and act on the bird with the help of pepsin.

After thorough digestion and major enzymatic activities of pepsin and several other digestive juices. The pigeon will reach the next part, known as gizzard in Pelicans.

The gizzard of Pelicans acts as a masticating organ and helps in breaking down the food into several smaller particles.

The masticated food is much ready for digestion and the nutrients are absorbed by the pelican’s body through the gizzard. The absorption will eventually result in the elongation of the gizzard for better digestion.

Since Pelicans eat the pigeons as a whole. There are several body parts of the pigeons that are non-digestible and hence regarded as waste material.

This waste is stored in the gizzard of the bird. The waste from the gizzard is eventually excreted out from the body of the Pelican.

Can a pelican eat a whole bird at once?

Yes, Pelican is capable enough to digest a whole bird at once. They can digest birds like pigeons in a single time.

Do pelicans eat other birds?

Yes, Pelican can eat other birds apart from Pigeons. Some of the birds that Pelican can eat are chickens, African penguins, smaller ducks, and many more. They generally swallow down all birds that can fit into their beaks.

Can a pelican eat a seagull?

Yes, Pelicans can eat seagulls.

Pelicans have long beaks and sharp skills that made them able to catch and eat seagulls as a whole. They can easily digest them without having any trouble.

Some interesting Pelican Eating Facts

Pelicans are peculiar birds. Having long and sharp beaks made them capable enough to eat and digest a wide variety of food items.

Interesting facts related to Pelican’s eating behavior are mentioned below:

  • Pelicans are very comfortable eating smaller birds. The bird is swallowed as a whole, during the process of swallowing birds like a pigeon, the bird can resist and stay in the beak of the bird for several minutes alive and frightened. The pelicans slowly wait till the bird dies and then swallow it inside.
  • In several cases, the birds do not die in the beaks of the pelicans and they swallow it directly alive into their esophagus. The lack of oxygen and digestive enzymes eventually kills the bird and starts the digestive process.
  • Having long beaks helps them to eat smaller birds but also makes it very difficult for them to catch smaller insects and food items. Food items located in close proximity to Pelicans are sometimes trouble for the bird to eat.
  • Pelicans are moody birds. They are very inhuman while eating other birds. If the Pelicans are angry or the prey bird tries to resist, they can toss up the bird and beat it badly leading to the immediate death of the bird.

Summing it up

Pelicans are moderate size birds. They are generally known for their big beaks and saint colors. The big white Pelican is a curious bird that catches people’s attention for its eating behavior.

These birds can eat birds like pigeons alive leaving people surprised and bewildered. It is advised to pet owners to keep birds like pigeons and parrots away from their pelicans.