Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

name =Brown Pelican
status = LC
status_system = iucn3.1

image_width = 250px
image_caption = "Pelecanus occidentalis californicus"
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Pelecaniformes
familia = Pelecanidae
genus = "Pelecanus"
species = "P. occidentalis"
binomial = "Pelecanus occidentalis"
binomial_authority = Linnaeus, 1766

The brown pelican ("Pelecanus occidentalis") is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is 106-137 cm (42-54 in) in length, weighs from 2.75 to 5.5 kg (6-12 lb) and has a wingspan from 1.83 to 2.5 m (6 to 8.2 ft).

It lives strictly on coasts from Washington and Virginia south to northern Chile and the mouth of the Amazon River, as well as the island of Saut d'Eau in Trinidad and Tobago. Some immature birds may stray to inland freshwater lakes. After nesting, North American birds move in flocks further north along the coasts, returning to warmer waters for winter. Their young are hatched in broods of about 3, and eat around 150 lbs. of fish in the 8-10 month period they are cared for.

This bird is distinguished from the American White Pelican by its brown body and its habit of diving for fish from the air, as opposed to co-operative fishing from the surface. It eats mainly herring-like fish. Groups of Brown Pelicans often travel in single file, flying low over the water's surface.

The nest location varies from a simple scrape on the ground on an island to a bulky stick nest in a low tree. These birds nest in colonies, usually on islands.

Pesticides like DDT and dieldrin threatened its future in the southeast United States and California in the early 1970s. Pesticides also threatened the pelican population in Florida in this period. A research group from the University of Tampa headed by Dr. Ralph Schreiber conducted research in the Tampa Bay/St Petersburg area and found that DDT caused the pelican eggshells to be overly-thin and incapable of supporting the embryo to maturity. As a result of this research, DDT usage was eliminated in Florida and the rest of the country. Along with the American White Pelican, the Brown Pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Normal pelicans can live more than 30 years.There are four subspecies:
*"P. o. californicus" (California Brown Pelican)
*"P. o. carolinensis" (Eastern Brown Pelican)
*"P. o. occidentalis" (Caribbean Brown Pelican)
*"P. o. urinator" (Galápagos Brown Pelican)

The Peruvian Pelican, "Pelecanus thagus", used to be considered a subspecies of the Brown Pelican ("P. o. thagus"). However, due to its well-defined allopatry and because it is much larger and heavier than its relatives, it was reclassified as a separate species.

The Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana.It is also one of the mascots of Tulane University and is on its seal because of the Louisiana connection.



External links

* List of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
* [ Brown Pelican videos] on the Internet Bird Collection
* [ Brown Pelican Information and Photos] South Dakota Birds and Birding
* [ Field Guide Page on Flickr]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • brown pelican — rudasis pelikanas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Pelecanus occidentalis angl. brown pelican vok. Braunpelikan, m rus. американский бурый пеликан, m pranc. pélican brun, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – pelikanai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • brown pelican — noun : an American pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) that is dusky brown above with gray wing coverts and tail, head largely white, neck chestnut brown, and grayish brown underparts, that breeds along the Atlantic coast from So. Carolina to Brazil …   Useful english dictionary

  • brown pelican —  (Pelecanus occidentalis), pelican species common along the southern U.S. coast. See pelican. * * * …   Universalium

  • brown pelican — noun Date: 1823 a pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) of American coasts that has a brownish body and a chiefly white or white with yellow head …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • california brown pelican — noun Usage: usually capitalized C : a Pacific coast pelican that is a variety (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) of the brown pelican and has a creamy head and bright red gular pouch …   Useful english dictionary

  • Pelican brun — Pélican brun Pelecanus occidentalis …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pelican — Taxobox name = Pelican image width = 240px image caption = Australian Pelican ( Pelecanus conspicillatus ). regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Pelecaniformes familia = Pelecanidae familia authority = Rafinesque, 1815 genus …   Wikipedia

  • Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge — Infobox protected area | name = Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge iucn category = Ib caption = locator x = 237 locator y = 156 location = Indian River County, Florida, USA nearest city = Vero Beach, Florida lat degrees = 27 lat minutes = 48 …   Wikipedia

  • pelican — /pel i keuhn/, n. 1. any of several large, totipalmate, fish eating birds of the family Pelecanidae, having a large bill with a distensible pouch. 2. a still or retort with two tubes that leave the body from the neck, curve in opposite directions …   Universalium

  • Pelican Island (Barbados) — This article describes the former island off Bridgetown and Fontabelle, Barbados. There is also a small Pelican Island within the Little Sisters island group in the British Virgin Islands, and a Pelican Island located north of Galveston Island in …   Wikipedia

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