According to hnp.hu, an immature (not having its elderly plumage yet) great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) is residing at the biggest lake of Hortobágy-Halastó near Kondás, at Lake V. since March 30, 2017. If you wish to know more about Hortobágy, check out this article.
The nearest natural breeding place of this species can be found at the Danube Delta in Romania. It has not nested in Hungary for a long time, as it became extinct in the 1870s.
Pelicans (Pelecanidae) are birds with a specific appearance, and usually eat fish. They are present in Europe with two species: the great white pelican and the dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the nearest natural breeding place of which is also at the Danube Delta. Apart from this, it also nests in Macedonia.
The wing-span of the great white pelican of huge build can reach 330-350 cm, while it can weigh more than 10 kg. Nowadays, they have only a few breeding places in Europe, most of which can be found at river deltas. Unfortunately, this species has lost its most important habitats due to the regulation of rivers and the drainage of the big swamps. It is endangered throughout Europe.
It is common that some strolling birds of a population – before growing mature – wander far away from their breeding place. The pelican mentioned above did exactly the same. In the last 5 years, great white pelicans appeared in Hungary 3 times, this is the fourth bird to visit the country.
As the protected great white pelican (its conservation value is around 790 EUR) is a rare guest in Hungary, many people have already visited Hortobány-Halastó to observe it or take a photo of it.
Many other interesting species are also present there, of course, thus the place is by all means worth a visit. However, the botanical path can only be visited with a valid admission card.
Featured image: Koczka András / Hortobágyi Nemzeti Park