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”
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.
They surprised me too, but amazingly, the Dalmatian Pelican from southeastern Europe, India, and China is even larger.
Kigali has almost no trash – that impresses me. We still have our national flower – escaped plastic bags.
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.
What amazing photographs. I had no idea pelicans were so large — taller than I am! -Jean
[…] the same corner with the pelican tree, there is a pharmacy with several nice topiary of Ficus benjamina (weeping […]
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 !
[…] (Pelecanus onocrotalus) à l’entrée de l’Ecole Belge de Kigali, on en parlait sur un blog ou l’autre, on en prenait de belles photos que voici […]