The pelican tree

Can you see them? Neither could I until we got to the corner.

In the neighborhood of Kiyovu — the central business district of Kigali — a group of great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) live in this tall tree opposite the Belgian School.

There is no nearby body of water, other than a medium-sized manmade lake on the other side of town. I have read that they are living on the tilapia in area fish farms, although I also read that great whites can be “opportunistic foragers” — meaning, I suppose, that they eat some trash. Although Kigali has almost no trash. (The species is also known to take the chicks of other birds, as well as ducklings.)

The birds are huge — which my pictures don’t really convey clearly.  A website said their length is about 63″ (160 cm.) and their wingspan is 110″ (280 cm.)

The other pelican native to Rwanda is the pink-backed pelican (Pelecanus rufescens).

My photos are not great — the tree is really tall — but this link has a very nice picture of pelicans in another Kigali tree.

8 thoughts on “The pelican tree

  1. This is so interesting. I didn’t know that pelicans could live like that. I also had no idea that they were so huge. You should submit this post to the FS blog round up.

    1. We’ve called them the national bird in a lot of countries — nesting in the fields. No joke — back in Niger, it was tragic. They are everywhere, and they get into the soil and make it unworkable and into the stomachs of grazing cows. Rwanda deserves great credit for its no plastic bag policy.

  2. Hi ! Nice pictures ! The branches of the tree are now cutted… Parents of the students didn’t like the smell. They were eating fishes from the river down the hill, Kimisagara. Hope read more from your blog !

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