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European Pelican Family has got a Black Nestling

First in Kharkov Zoo European White Pelican breed successfully! This is a true wonder in the course of almost 50 years of keeping of pelicans in our Zoo! The nestling was born a bit less than two months ago and it weighed about 200 grams. He was absolutely bare and ha was rose-coloured. Gradually its skin got darker. At the 10th day of its life there appeared black feathering apparel. The feathering of an adult individual will appear only on the third year of the young pelican's life.


During the first week the young pelican fed upon gruel which its parents regurgitated. By and by it started taking half-digested fish, then fresh fish which it took out of crop of its parents. Now the nestling prefers carp gudgeon and it swallows it in one piece. Owing to excellent appetite he grows weight good. In the course of two months he has grown 3 kilos. Judging from its size (males are bigger than females) this is a male. Its sex will be definitely defined when it becomes 3-4 years of age, when it reaches maturity. 


Young pelicans acquire the ability to swim and to catch fish when they become two months' old. It is now that our nestling is learning these skills: it eters water, splashes in it and tries to swim. It can defend itself as good as an adult individual, nevertheless its parents keep on watching and protecting it. Besides the nestling, there are kept 7 more individuals of European White Pelican and one Dalmatian pelican. Now the birds are staying in the indoor enclosure with a pool. Cormorants are keeping them company.