Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Brown Pelican

Order : Pelecaniformes
A diverse group of aquatic birds that fall into three suborders; Pelicani (Pelicans, Darters, Cormorants and Boobies) Fregatae ( Frigate birds ) and Phaethones ( Tropic birds). All are fairly large birds and all have webbed feet. Each suborder then having specialised adaptations for the different ways of life, the Frigatebird never alighting on water while the Anhinga swims underwater for extended periods of time.

Family : Pelicans (Pelecanidae)
Having been around for over 40 million years the pelican is found on every continent except Antarctica. They are birds of coastal and inland waters where different species have adapted two main ways of obtaining food. The most popular used by White Pelicans is group fishing where they form a line to chase schools of small fish into shallow water where they simply scoop them up. Larger fish are caught with the tip of the bill, thrown up, and swallowed head first. Plunge diving is the second method of fishing used almost exclusively by Brown Pelicans where the Pelican will dive into the water usually folding it’s wings at the last moment. They often fish in small groups, and can be accompanied by Sea Gulls like the Laughing Gull which will attempt to steal the catch literally right from the birds mouth. Pelicans nest colonially, the male bringing the nesting material, the female heaping it up to form a simple structure. Pairs are monogamous for a single season at the nest, but continue to feed independently.

Name :Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Length 105 - 140 cm ( 41 - 55 in )

The Brown Pelican is the smallest member of the Pelican family. It lives strictly on coasts from Washington and Cape Cod to the mouth of the Amazon River, nesting in colonies usually on small Islands. The nest can vary from a simple scrape on the ground to a bulky stick nest made in small trees. The Brown Pelican can usually be seen flying in small groups in single file, often flying mere feet above the water surface. They catch they prey, exclusively fish, by plunge diving head first into the water, giving an aerial display that can continue for hours at a time, resting on the waters surface as needed. The fish are caught in the long bill which has a large throat patch underneath, swallowed quickly, before taking off for another foray. They are mostly brown above, grey- white below with large wings that can span up to 3 meters.

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Bird identification pictures

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) Pelecanidae

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) with Laughing Gull

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) feeding

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) Birds of Tobago