Diet preference and activity patterns of Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus, Linnaeus, 1758) at Lake Hawassa, Ethiopia
A study on the diet preference and activities of Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus, Linnaeus, 1758) was carried out along the shore of Lake Hawassa, Ethiopia, during the wet and dry seasons in 2011/2012. Repeated observations and focal animal sampling methods were used to study the diet and activity patterns. Activity patterns including feeding, resting, preening, flying and alert behaviour were analyzed. Great White Pelicans feed primarily on fish (81.9%), they also feed on worms (13.1%), amphibians (0.94%) and some other invertebrates (4.05%). The percentage frequency of fish in the diet of P. onocrotalus was 79.2% and 84.5% during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. Major activities of the species during the day time were feeding (45.69%), resting (23.39%), preening (13.95%), flying (14.7%) and alert (1.95%). Feeding activity was intensive and reached its peak in the morning (09:00-12:00 h) and late afternoon hours (15:00-18:00 h). Resting was more during the midday. Further ecological studies on Great White Pelicans should be conducted to get more information about the bird and facilitate conservation measures in the study area.
Keywords: Activity patterns, Feeding ecology, Great White Pelicans, Lake Hawassa.