Brown Pelican Info, Footage, Full Species Information

The brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, is a big water fowl discovered on each the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas. As soon as an endangered species in the USA, the brown pelican made a profitable restoration and is now a well-known sight in lots of coastal areas.

Web page Index

Brown Pelican Stats

Brown pelican feeding full pouch
A brown pelican with a pouch stuffed with fish.
  • Scientific Title: Pelecanus occidentalis
  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Household: Pelecanidae
  • Weight: Approx. 2.75 to five.5 kg (6 to 12 lb)
  • Wingspan: Approx. 2.03 to 2.48 meters (6.7 to eight.2 toes)
  • The place discovered: Coastal areas of the Americas, primarily from North America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts to the Amazon River in South America.
  • IUCN conservation standing: Least Concern

Brown Pelican Info

  • The brown pelican is the smallest of the eight dwelling pelican species.
  • The species is considered one of two pelicans present in North America (the opposite being the American white pelican, which may be acknowledged by its all-white coat).
  • The brown pelican is a piscivore (fish-eater).
  • The species dives from heights of as much as 20m (66 ft.) into the water to catch its prey, and is the one North American pelican to catch meals on this method.
  • Air sacs underneath the pores and skin cushion the fowl’s physique from the impression of hitting the water. The air sacs additionally present buoyancy that enables the fowl to return to the floor.
  • The brown pelican is a powerful swimmer, able to reaching depths of as much as 30 ft / 9.14 m.

What’s a Brown Pelican?

The brown pelican is a coastal water fowl belonging to the pelican household, Pelecanidae. Like different pelicans, it’s a giant fowl with an extended invoice and increasing throat pouch.

A well-recognized sight in coastal areas in North and South America, the brown pelican is commonly seen gliding silently over the ocean, and plunge-diving for fish with an magnificence that belies its dimension. (The brown pelican is the one North American pelican species that dives from the air into the water.)

As soon as endangered in the USA (due primarily to the usage of the pesticide DDT, which affected the fowl’s eggs) the brown pelican has since bounced again and was faraway from the nation’s Endangered Species Act in 2009.

Brown Pelican Identification

Brown Pelican in Flight
Brown Pelican in flight.
  • Massive dimension (bigger than any gull, however barely smaller than the American white pelican)
  • Attribute pelican options: giant invoice, expandable throat pouch, lengthy neck
  • Gray-brown plumage, yellow head
  • Dives from top (not like the American white pelican)

The brown pelican has an look typical of pelicans, with an extended invoice, giant wingspan, and expansive “gular pouch” — a pores and skin pouch positioned beneath the beak, used for catching and briefly storing fish earlier than consumption.

Grownup brown pelicans have predominantly grayish-brown physique plumage with a yellow or creamy white head, the yellow being accentuated additional through the breeding season.

The neck is white outdoors of the breeding season, when it turns into a darker, maroon-brown hue.

Plumage coloration, dimension and throat-pouch coloration all fluctuate between the species’ 5 acknowledged subspecies.

California Brown Pelican
California brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, a brown pelican subspecies present in California

Regardless of being the smallest of the eight dwelling pelicans, the brown pelican is nonetheless a big fowl, with a wingspan ranging between 2.03 to 2.48 meters (6.7 to eight.2 toes) – bigger than that of any gull.

The brown pelican’s wings are broad and strong, lending it the power for lengthy flights and its attribute hovering above coastal waters. Its wingbeats are sluggish and highly effective.

Female and male brown pelicans are comparable in look, with males being barely bigger than females.

Again to web page index

The place are Brown Pelicans Discovered?

The brown pelican is primarily discovered within the coastal areas of the Americas. Its distribution extends as follows:

  • North America: Alongside the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts of the USA. The species is especially prevalent from Nova Scotia to the Venezuelan coast and from Southern California south to Brazil. Brown Pelicans are a typical sight in locations like Florida, Louisiana, and the Carolinas.
  • Caribbean: The brown pelican is current in lots of Caribbean islands.
  • Central America: The species spans the whole thing of the Central American coast, from Mexico to Panama.
  • South America: The brown pelican’s vary extends alongside the Pacific coast, reaching as far south as northern Chile, and on the Atlantic coast right down to Brazil, particularly within the Amazon River delta.


Whereas Brown Pelicans are predominantly coastal birds, they’re sometimes (however hardly ever) noticed in inland waters, particularly after storms. They sometimes desire saltwater and brackish habitats, together with seashores, estuaries, bays, harbors, and lagoons. Not like another pelican species, they’re hardly ever discovered removed from saltwater environments.

Again to web page index

Brown Pelican Weight loss plan

The brown pelican is primarily a piscivore (fish-eater). It has a desire for small fish, together with menhaden, mullet, anchovies, herring, and sardines, and can eat different fish species based mostly on regional availability.

The brown pelican additionally consumes crustaceans comparable to prawns. Amphibians and fowl nestlings are additionally sometimes (however hardly ever) taken.

Again to web page index

Brown Pelican Household And Associated Species

The brown pelican is a member of the pelican household, Pelecanidae. All eight dwelling pelicans are listed under:

  • Nice White Pelican (Dalmatian Pelican), Pelecanus onocrotalus, Present in southeastern Europe, Asia, and Africa, round swamps and shallow lakes.
  • Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus, Freshwater lakes, rivers, and deltas in southeastern Europe to India and China.
  • American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, Primarily within the inside of North America, migrating to the southern United States and Mexico within the winter.
  • Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Coastal areas of the Americas, from North America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts to the Amazon River in South America.
  • Peruvian Pelican, Pelecanus thagus, The Pacific coast of South America, primarily in Chile and Peru.
  • Pink-backed Pelican, Pelecanus rufescens, Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, frequenting a wide range of freshwater and saline habitats.
  • Spot-billed Pelican (Gray Pelican), Pelecanus philippensis, Areas of southern Asia, from southern India to the Philippines.
  • Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicillatus, Discovered all through Australia, Papua New Guinea, and elements of Indonesia, primarily close to coasts, giant lakes, and different giant our bodies of open water.

The pelican household belongs to a bigger group, the order Pelecaniformes, which can be residence to herons, ibises, spoonbills, frigatebirds, gannets, boobies, cormorants, shags, the shoebill and the hamerkop – the latter two species being the pelicans’ closest kinfolk.

Again to web page index

Brown Pelican Life Cycle

Brown Pelican With Chick
Brown Pelican With Chick

Brown Pelicans sometimes nest in colonies, both on the bottom in locations like sandy islands or in bushes and shrubs. The nests are constructed from sticks, grass, and different vegetation.

Females sometimes lay 2 to three eggs, although generally clutch dimension could also be as giant as 4 eggs.

Each dad and mom share the duty of incubating the eggs. They use their toes, that are properly vascularized, to manage the temperature of the eggs. The incubation interval lasts about 28 to 30 days.

Brown pelican chicks are altricial, that means they’re born blind, bare, and depending on their dad and mom. The chicks are fed by regurgitation. Initially, the chicks get hold of meals by sticking their payments down the mother or father’s throat.

Over the primary few weeks, the chicks develop quickly. They begin to develop downy feathers and finally, by the age of 5 to six weeks, turn out to be fairly cell and might go away the nest.

At about 9 to 12 weeks previous, the younger pelicans are able to fledge. Throughout this era, they proceed to rely upon their dad and mom for meals, however start to discover their environment and apply flying and diving.

After fledging, the younger Brown Pelicans nonetheless depend on their dad and mom for a number of extra weeks. They usually collect in giant teams with different juveniles.

Brown pelicans solely purchase their full grownup plumage at round 3 to 4 years previous, and attain sexual maturity at round 3 to five years of age. Though the species doesn’t mate for all times, it kinds a monogamous pair for a breeding season.


The lifespan of a brown pelican is 15 to 25 years.

Again to web page index

Is the Brown Pelican Endangered?

The Brown Pelican is just not endangered; the species is at the moment (as of Aug 2023) categorised as “Least Concern” by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Traditionally, the Brown Pelican confronted extreme inhabitants declines, primarily because of the results of the pesticide DDT. The chemical interfered with calcium processing in birds, resulting in skinny eggshells that might break simply, thus affecting reproductive success. In response to those declines, the Brown Pelican was listed as endangered in the USA in 1970 underneath the Endangered Species Act (Wikipedia).

The U.S. banned DDT in 1972 and following vital conservation efforts, Brown Pelican populations started to recuperate. The species was faraway from the U.S. Endangered Species checklist in 2009.

Again to web page index

Uncover Extra With Energetic Wild

Yow will discover out extra about birds on this web page: Birds – The Final Information

Uncover various kinds of birds on this web page: Forms of Birds

Go to our foremost animals web page for hyperlinks to animal info and a whole information to the animal kingdom: Animals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *