Great white pelican


Great White Pelicans

The second largest in the pelican family, great white pelicans have a white plumage (feathers) with a pink facial patch and yellow legs. They have a very large wingspan of up to 9 feet but are very light, typically weighing between 15-17 pounds due to their hollow bones.


  • Great white pelicans are the second largest species of the 8 species in the world.
  • Pelicans are flighted birds, with large wing spans of approximately 7-11 feet.
  • All pelicans have hollow bones and air pockets throughout their body to aid in flight.
  • Great white pelicans can hold up to 3 gallons of water in their gular pouch.
  • The bill of a pelican is made of keratin with a hook used for preening.

Our pelicans inspire guests to reduce human impact challenges to these animals and similar species in our waterways by disposing of trash properly, recycling, and not cutting fishing lines.


ricky rufus pelican

Ricky "Rufus"

Species: Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

Age:13 (estimated)

Favorite Food: Ricky’s diet consists of fish, preferring silversides and capelin.

Movie Star

Ricky, a great white pelican, was one of the pelicans that played the part of “Rufus” in the Dolphin Tale movies. This was not Ricky’s first experience working in front of a camera; she was also in the movie Zohan starring Adam Sandler.

Home at CMA

Ricky now calls Clearwater Marine Aquarium home and inspires guests to learn about her species and other sea birds that surround our waterways, helping bring awareness to wildlife along our coastal waters.

skylar and ricky pelicans


Species: Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

Age: 9 (estimated)

Favorite Food: Diet consists of fish, including silversides and capelin.

Is it Skylar or Ricky?

Skylar currently shares space with Ricky in our aviary. She is smaller in overall size and also a little shorter than Ricky. The most notable difference between the two is her left leg – which is permanently deformed due to a previous injury that fractured it. Because of the way her leg healed, she will always have a slight limp when she walks.

Skylar is very inquisitive but can be shy. She continues to build relationships and learn with her Animal Care Team.

Skylar’s Name:

Named in honor of Skylar Ann Scarnecchia, a 7th-grade cancer survivor and amputee, who impresses us with her courage and smile. Her prosthetic leg comes from Hangar Clinic, where Winter gets her prosthetic tail.

matthew and tyndall pelicans

Matthew and Tyndall

Species: Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

Age: Mathew and Tyndall are both 4 years old.

Favorite Food: Diet consists of fish, including herring, silversides and capelin.

Tyndall & Matthew

Tyndall is shy and curious while Matthew is bold and stands his ground. Both love enrichment, finding fish and sprays of water. Matthew and Tyndall are temporarily located at Rufus Beach.

Matthew’s Name:

Named in honor of Army Staff Sgt. Mathew Steven Sitton, who died in August, 2012, after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Matthew lived in Pinellas County.

Tyndall’s Name: 

Named in honor of Caleb Tyndall, an amazing 23 year-old, with extensive medical issues and inspired by Winter’s refusal to give up.

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Daily Presentations (Rufus Beach):

Pelican Presentation

10:30 am, 12:30 pm

Presentation times are subject to change.
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Rufus Beach

Ricky “Rufus”, Skylar, Matthew and Tyndall


Animal Care Experience

Feed Rufus

Feed fish to our pelican, Ricky, who played the role of Rufus in Dolphin Tale.

Pelican Care Experience

During this 30 minute experience you will get to assist animal care specialists while they care for our resident pelicans. Learn all about great white pelicans and get up close to experience the daily care we provide. Includes a souvenir photo.

Dolphin webcam

Watch Live Webcams of Winter, Hope, Nicholas, Otters, Sea Turtles and Pelicans!


Duke Energy Coca-Cola Bay Star Allegiant Dolphin Motor Coach