Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Strickland, Bronson K.

Committee Member

Cunningham, Fredrick L.

Committee Member

Rude, Brian J.

Committee Member

Huston, Carla L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Because little is known about juvenile American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) this study was conducted to gather more information on disease, general ecology and growth of American White Pelicans from hatching to fledging. In July 2011, American White Pelican regurgitate samples from North and South Dakota sub-colonies were collected/analyzed in preparation for a captive trial. Nutrient content compared between the colonies was found to be significantly different. Concentrations of Immunoglobulin Y and A in regurgitate samples were significantly different between colonies. A captive trial began 29 May 2012 and ended 30 July 2012, in which 16 American White Pelicans were hand raised from hatching to fledging. During the captive trial, various growth parameters, intake and fecal output were examined to determine the effect of the parasite Bolbophorus damnificus in 8 infected and 8 non-infected (parasite free) pelicans. Growth data collected on B. damnificus infected (n = 8) American White Pelicans was compared to previously mentioned parasiteree pelicans (n = 8) to determine effects of the parasite. There were no differences between groups for culmen length (P= 0.214), tarsal length (P = 0.306), body weight (P = 0.884) or intake (P = 0.963). There was also no effect of the parasite on body temperature. Towards the end of the captive trial, several pelicans both on (n = 16) and off (n = 11) trial became naturally infected with West Nile Virus. Clinical symptoms ranged from lethargy and/or wing droop to total paralysis. Progression of disease is detailed in two well-defined case studies with additional information included on clinical signs, physiological parameters, and a review of the pathology of disease for other infected birds.