Brown Pelican

Pelecanus occidentalis

photo of Pelecanus occidentalis
Image by Frank Schulenburg from Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Physical: Brown Pelicans are stocky birds with flat bills.  They reach up to 21 cm in size.  Their bodies are dark brown, and adults have white heads.  Coloration is inverted in juveniles.

Habitat: P. occidentalis prefer sandy coastal beaches, lagoons, waterfronts, pilings, and rocky cliffs.  They occur along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts as far as Texas.

Feeding: Fish are the predominant diet of the Brown Pelican.  Individuals dive to catch their prey; their bills can hold up to 2.34 gallons of water.

Breeding: P. occidentalis lay 2 to 3 chalky white eggs in a stick nest built partly of debris.  Nests are usually on a rocky island near the coast in an attempt to avoid predators.

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