Lake Brewster, in the Lachlan River catchment, is an important site for pelicans. It is one of the few sites in the Murray Darling Basin where pelicans breed in large numbers (> 5000 nests). Pelicans have nested at Lake Brewster since 1984, when records were first kept. In recent years the size of the pelican colonies has been increasing to about 8000 birds in the summer of 2016 and 2017. In the summer of 2016 and 2017, after prolonged flooding in the Lachlan River catchment, pelicans bred at several locations in the Lake.

Pelican banding

One important factor of pelican ecology that is poorly understood is whether pelicans return to the site where they hatched. This is known as natal site fidelity. If pelicans exhibit natal site fidelity, it has important implications for wetland and water management.

In May 2017, 66 juvenile pelicans were banded with uniquely numbered orange leg bands. These bands will stay on for the life of the pelican and help us keep track of movements – whether they revisit Lake Brewster or other wetlands.

Reporting sightings

If you see a pelican with an orange leg band, please email If you can read the number on the band, that's great; if not, it doesn't matter, please report where you saw the pelican.

For more information, email Dr Kate Brandis.  


National waterbird survey

The project will develop national methodologies, guidelines and assessment protocols to measure conservation value and success of environmental water delivery to water dependent ecosystems using waterbirds.

Eastern Australian waterbird survey

Aerial survey of waterbirds provides one the few quantitative, large scale biodiversity datasets that can monitor changes in the distribution and abundance of 50 waterbird species, including threatened species and the health of rivers and wetlands.