Pelicans prefer to be social birds rather than solitary. When they fly in V formation they actually conserve energy, and even those in the center of the V save more than those on the outer….this is because they use air currents to assist in their flight. They can fly up to 56km/h, and as long as 24 hours a day. These numbers aren’t specific to gliding only, since that can vary depending on the air current.
It depends on the wind and their flight direction relative to the wind. I saw a small group last week that were flying into a stiff (>20 mph) wind along the beach in Oregon and they hardly flapped at all. They were getting sufficient lift from the wind to make flapping unnecessary.
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