Black Pelicans are covered in oil, according to BirdLife Australia


One of the black pelicans seen near local waterways. Pictures: Ian Beattie/John Caldwell
Black Pelicans are covered in oil, according to BirdLife Australia
Black Pelicans are covered in oil, according to BirdLife Australia
One of the black pelicans seen near local waterways. Pictures: Ian Beattie/John Caldwell

EXPERTS from BirdLife Australia say the black pelicans that have baffled local bird lovers are coated in oil.

The Courier sent BirdLife photos of a black pelican and spokeswoman Carly Hardidge said its feathers appeared to be matted down.

“Our bird experts agree this is actually an oiled pelican,” she said.

“Unfortunately, with that coating of oil, it’s a real worry.”

Rockingham rubbish collector John Caldwell agreed the black pelicans were covered in oil.

He saw the pelicans at the Millar Road landfill site today and said one of them even had a black eye, with hardly any yellow visible.

“There are about four of them,” he said.

“I got about two metres away.”

Rockingham resident John Watkins was baffled earlier this week after he went bird watching at Lake Richmond and saw some dirty looking pelicans roosting.

“We thought they were black swans, but they were clearly pelicans,” he said.

“They were flying and we saw them do a loop of the lake.”

When he got home, Mr Watkins did some research and could not find any information on black pelicans.

“There is no such thing as a black pelican,” he said.

“These pelicans should not be black.

“It’s a mystery.

“I am concerned it might be crude oil or pollution.”

Mr Watkins got in touch with the Courier hoping someone could shed some light on why the pelicans were black.

Photographer Ian Beattie said he had seen three black pelicans in the past week.

“One was at Penguin Island and two at Lake Richmond,” he said.

“They can fly and show no sign of being in any distress but I’ve never heard of black pelicans – I mean jet black.”