2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis )

Brown Pelican with Roseate Spoonbills in the background

The Brown Pelican is a bird of the pelican family, Pelecanidae, one of three species found in the Americas and one of two that feed by diving into the water. It is located on the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey to the mouth of the Amazon River, and along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to northern Chile, including the Galapagos Islands. The nominate subspecies in its breeding plumage has a white head with a yellowish wash on the crown. The nape and neck are dark maroons–brown. The upper sides of the neck have white lines along the base of the gular pouch, and the lower fore neck has a pale yellowish patch. The male and female are similar, but the female is slightly smaller. The nonbreeding adult has a white head and neck. The pink skin around the eyes becomes dull and gray in the nonbreeding season. It lacks any red hue; the pouch is firmly olivaceous ochre-tinged, and the legs are olivaceous gray to blackish-gray.

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