Pelecanus onocrotalus, White Pelican, Pélican Blanc The pelican is a coastal inhabitant that belongs to the bird family scientifically classified as Pelecanide, and according to the fossil record it has been around for over 40 million years. The pelican is one of the heaviest birds capable of flight due to having an extremely light skeleton, weighing less than 10 percent of their total body weight. They are thought to have an average lifespan of around 15 years but can live for 30 years or more in the wild. Pelicans catch fish in their huge bill pouches, while swimming at the surface. They also eat amphibians, crustaceans and small birds The mating rituals are complex and several males will chase a single female while simultaneously battling with one another. Pelicans typically produce a clutch of 2-6 eggs and both sexes take turns incubating the eggs for about 28 days.