The Brown Pelican is the common pelican species we see along the east and west coast of the United States. There are 2 subspecies of the Brown Pelican – the Atlantic (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) and the Pacific (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus). There are 3 other subspecies found in other parts of the Western Hemisphere. Today’s post pertains to the Atlantic subspecies birds I saw on a recent rip to Florida.
The Brown Pelican lives in flocks and are primarily year around residents of the areas where the forage. They do migrate to breeding grounds, but they are generally in close proximity to their foraging area. They prefer small fish but will eat marine invertebrates like prawns and scavange dead animals too. Thy sometimes swim in shallow water and scoop up food but they are renowned for their steep, head first, dives into the water to scoop up their prey. It’s pretty cool to watch. They can pick-up as much as 2 ½ gallons of water with their prey.
Here are a few images to enjoy.
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Info from All About Birds (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Pelican/lifehistory) and Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_pelican).