Atlantic coast adult, non-breeding plumage (Florida, USA; 2007-12-26)

Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis

Native Range: North America and Latin America

Notes: an iconic coastal species that nearly went extinct in North America during the 1970's because of DDT poisoning and habitat loss; fishes by plunge-diving head-first and then quickly expanding its gular (throat) pouch underwater to entrap its prey; after popping quickly back to the surface, it squeezes the excess water out of its pouch and swallows the fish by tilting its head back; often flies in lines just above the ocean surface; adults are silent.

Atlantic coast adult, non-breeding plumage (Florida, USA;2007-12-21) birds often perch on pilings of docks (Florida, USA; 2008-12-20)
back view (Florida, USA; 2008-12-20) resting posture (Florida, USA; 2007-12-20)
Pacific coast adult in breeding condition (California, USA; 2006-12-25) neck folded back on body in flight (California, USA; 2007-01-07)
juvenile (California, USA; 2007-11-17) juvenile (California, USA; 2007-09-22)
juvenile in flight (California, USA; 2007-11-17) group of adults and juveniles (California, USA; 2007-12-20)
spotting a fish (California, USA; 2007-11-17) diving for fish (California, USA; 2007-11-17)
holding caught fish in pouch (California, USA; 2007-10-28) preparing to swallow his prize (Florida, USA; 2007-12-20)
attracting the interest of a Laughing Gull (Florida, USA; 2007-12-20) Atlantic coast adult posing for camera (Florida, USA; 2007-12-26)
roosting colony on a mangrove island (Florida, USA; 2012-12-21) closer view of roosting birds (Florida, USA; 2012-12-21)