- The Brown Pelican is the only species of pelican that dives into water to catch its prey . They can swallow massively sized prey with their specialized bills.
- Pelicans faced sharp population declines during the last century with the widespread application of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides such as DDT . Such chemicals, most found within the fish preyed upon by the pelicans, caused eggs to be weak and thin. Most of these eggs cracked, which led to quick declines in pelican numbers.
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Czech:
Common Names in Danish:
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
American brown pelican, Brown Pelican, common pelican
Common Names in Estonian:
Common Names in Finnish:
Common Names in French:
Common Names in German:
Common Names in Guadeloupean Creole :
Common Names in Haitian Creole French:
Common Names in Italian:
Common Names in Japanese:
Common Names in Latin:
Pelecanus fuscus, Pelecanus occidentalis
Common Names in Lithuanian:
Common Names in Norwegian:
Common Names in Polish:
Common Names in Portuguese:
Common Names in Portuguese (Brazil):
Common Names in Slovak:
Common Names in Spanish:
Alacatraz, Flamenco, Pel, PelÌcano pardo
Common Names in Spanish (Costa Rica):
Common Names in Spanish (Cuba):
Common Names in Spanish (Honduras):
Common Names in Spanish (Mexico):
Pel, Pelicano Caf
Common Names in Spanish (Nicaragua):
Common Names in Swedish:
Adult : Head : white Face : Eye Color: pale yellow Facial Skin : grayish Bill: yellowish gray with scarlet cast on distal portion, and yellow tip Lower Mandible: blackish pouch Neck: white Hindneck: dark chestnut Body: Belly: blackish brown Breast: blackish brown Upperparts: silvery frosting on gray-brown Legs : Foot Color: black Foot Shape: webbed Leg Color: black.Breeding: Head: white with yellowish tinge Face: Eye Color: pale yellow Eye Ring: reddish Facial Skin: grayish Bill: rosy tinge. yellowish gray with scarlet cast on distal portion, and yellow tip Lower Mandible: blackish pouch Neck: black Hindneck: dark chestnut Body: Belly: blackish brown Breast: blackish brown Upperparts: silvery frosting on gray-brown Legs: Foot Color: black Foot Shape: webbed Leg Color: black.Immature: Head: brown Face: Eye Color: pale yellow Eye Ring: reddish Facial Skin: grayish Bill: Lower Mandible: blackish pouch Neck: black Hindneck: dark chestnut Body: Belly: white Breast: blackish brown Upperparts: brown Legs: Foot Color: black Foot Shape: webbed Leg Color: black.
alternate: · White foreneck and head
with yellow crown
· Chestnut neck and nape · Gray-brown body plumage
with slightly darker flight feathers
Adult basic: · Yellowish crown · White head and neck · Gray-brown body plumage with slightly darker flight feathers
Immature : · Dark brown overall, gradually acquiring adult plumage over three years
About 48 to 50 inches long, with a wingspan of 78 to 84 inches. Adults weigh about 131.2 ounces .
Coastal shores .
Vegetation: freshwater marshes, coastal waters • Foraging Strata: Water • Center of Abundance: Lower tropical: lowlands, lower than 500 m.; tropics. • Sensitivity to Disturbance: High
Typically found in a lake at a mean distance from sea level of 6 meters (19 feet).
This species inhabits shallow inshore waters
, estuaries and bays
avoiding the open sea
. Its diet
is comprised mostly of fish, causing
great congregations in areas with abundant prey
. Prey species include
, but has been seem to take shrimps and carrion
and even nestling egrets. It regularly feeds
by plunge-diving and
is often the victim of kleptoparasites. The timing of breeding varies
depending on latitude
, breeding in spring
in the extreme north of
compared to all year round
in the tropics. Brown Pelicans
, with some colonies being maintained over several years.
It mostly nests
on the ground
, sometimes on cliffs
and less often
in small trees
or bushes. Movements and migrations depend on local
northern populations migrate south)1.
List of Habitats :
- 9 Marine Neritic
- 9.1 Marine Neritic - Pelagic
- 9.2 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
- 9.3 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel
- 9.4 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
- 9.5 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
- 9.7 Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
- 9.9 Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
- 9.10 Marine Neritic - Estuaries
- 10 Marine Oceanic
- 10.1 Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
- 10.2 Marine Oceanic - Mesopelagic (200-1000m)
- 12 Marine Intertidal
- 12.1 Marine Intertidal - Rocky Shoreline
- 12.2 Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars , Spits , Etc
- 12.3 Marine Intertidal - Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
- 13 Marine Coastal/Supratidal
- 13.1 Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
Brown Pelicans nest
in large colonies in trees
, bushes, or even on
Clutch Size: 3 Length of Incubation : 28-30 days Days to Fledge : 71-88 Number of Broods: 1
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Goodrich, 1930
- Linnaeus, 1758
- Gauthier, 1986
- (C. Linnaeus, 1758)
- Pycraft, 1900
- Huxley, 1867
- Sharpe, 1891
- Suborder: Steganopodes () - Chandler, 1916
- Order: Pelecaniformes () - Sharpe, 1891
- Superorder: Pelecanimorphae () - Huxley, 1867
- Cohort: Neognathae () - Pycraft, 1900
- Infraclass: Aves () - (C. Linnaeus, 1758)
- Subclass: Avialae () - Gauthier, 1986
- Class: Aves () - Linnaeus, 1758
- Superclass: Tetrapoda () - Goodrich, 1930
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 24-Jun-1996
American White Pelican, Northern Gannet
Members of the genus Pelecanus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 16 species and subspecies in this genus:
P. conspicillatus (Australasian Pelican) · P. crispus (Dalamatian Pelican) · P. erythrorhynchos (American White Pelecan) · P. novaezealandiae (New Zealand Pelican) · P. occidentalis (American Brown Pelican) · P. occidentalis californicus (Brown Pelican) · P. occidentalis carolinensis (Brown Pelican) · P. occidentalis occidentalis (Brown Pelican) · P. occidentalis thagus (Brown Pelican) · P. occidentalis urinator (Brown Pelican) · P. onocrotalus (Eastern White Pelican) · P. philippensis (Spot-Billed Pelican) · P. philippensis philippensis (Spot-Billed Pelican) · P. roseus (Rosy Pelican) · P. rufescens (Pink-Backed Pelican) · P. thagus (Chilean Brown Pelican)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 09, 2007:
- Avian Knowledge Network, eBird
- Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Bishop Museum Natural History Specimen Data
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Birds
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Royal British Columbia Museum
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Musem of Natural History
- UNIBIO, IBUNAM, CNAV/Coleccion Nacional de Aves
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
- , Bird specimens
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 8925
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-174686
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13761683
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 174685
- IUCN ID: 230894
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: ABNFC01020
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species Identifier: B02L
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 152531
- Standard Deviation = 386.380 based on 10,855 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- BirdLife International 2009. Pelecanus occidentalis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 February 2012. [back]