The Atlantic Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis); Atlantic Subspecies
Island, FL; FEB 2020

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.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Brown Pelican (pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
The one with the yellow head is a breeding adult, the other is a juvenile.
Bunche Beach, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020
Juvenile Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis); Atlantic Subspecies
Fishing Pier, Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Seascape With Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Juvenile Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis); Atlantic Subspecies
Fishing Pier, Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Info from All About Birds (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Pelican/lifehistory) and Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_pelican).

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