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London, England

Pelicans of St James's Park

Giant, friendly pelicans in Central London, the most unlikely of places. 

At a scenic duck pond in Central London near Buckingham Palace are some unusual residents — the famous pelicans of St. James Park, living thousands of miles from their usual habitat.

The colony of disturbingly large, but friendly, birds include five Eastern Whites and one South American White. Pelicans were first introduced to the park in 1664,  a generous gift from a Russian Ambassador. In 2013, three of the five Eastern Whites arrived as a gift from the city of Prague, joining the descendants of the original Russian flock.

The pelicans can regularly be seen basking on rocks between 2:30 and 3:00 daily, when they are fed fish by the park rangers, when they aren’t sneaking into the London Zoo to pilfer the fish of their less free-range friends. The pelicans are extremely social, and quite used to human companionship — it’s not unusual for them to leave their lake to sit on the benches alongside bemused office workers and tourists.

Know Before You Go

By the duck pond on St James's Park lake