Brown Pelican Facts
- Most notably, the unassuming, yet still lovely, Brown Pelican actually has several claims to distinctiveness. Apparently, one just wasn’t enough for this rather remarkable animal.
- Firstly, it remains one of only three of its kind endemic to the Americas. Secondly, it represents one of only two varieties to feed by actually diving into the water. Also, it actually forms the smallest of all known related species.
- Finally, its population, unlike numerous other creatures, appears to be stable, and of sufficient number. The IUCN has therefore listed the Brown Pelican as a species of Least Concern.
Brown Pelican Physical Description
Though quite diminutive for a pelican, the Brown Pelican is still quite a large bird. That’s because its wingspan reaches as much as 8.2 ft (2.5 m). Additionally, it sometimes weighs as much as 12.1 lb (5.5 kg).
Furthermore, its bill grows to as long as 13.7 in (35 cm) in length. A large gular pouch also adjoins the bottom of that bill. This it uses for draining water when it grabs its prey.
In addition, its coloring (not surprisingly, given the name) predominantly shows shades of brown. Gray, black, and white also present themselves.
Finally, the head typically displays white or gray in color. Amazingly, internal air sacs beneath the skin and bones make it extremely buoyant.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Pelecaniformes
- Family: Pelecanidae
- Genus: Pelecanus
- Species: P. occidentalis
Brown Pelican Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Brown Pelican evolved as endemic to the full length of the coastal regions of North America and South America. It also appears especially common in the Gulf of Mexico. Younger individuals often stray into inland lakes and waterways.
Most also like to inhabit mangrove swamps. Further, this avian is especially gregarious, typically living in large flocks throughout the year.
Though its principal prey is fish, it will also occasionally feed on small crustaceans and amphibians. The animal nests in large colonies, usually on islands or in mangrove swamps.