Where Spotted: These photos taken at Folly Beach SC but Brown Pelicans are commonly seen along the VA shorline
Common Name: Brown Pelican
Scientific Name: Pelecanus occidentalis
Length: 39.4-53.9 in (100-137 cm)
Weight: 70.5-176.4 oz (2000-5000 g)
Wingspan: 78.7 in (200 cm)
- While the Brown Pelican is draining the water from its bill after a dive, gulls often try to steal the fish right out of its pouch—sometimes while perching on the pelican’s head. Pelicans themselves are not above stealing fish, as they follow fishing boats and hang around piers for handouts.
- Pelicans incubate their eggs with the skin of their feet, essentially standing on the eggs to keep them warm. In the mid-twentieth century the pesticide DDT caused pelicans to lay thinner eggs that cracked under the weight of incubating parents. After nearly disappearing from North America in the 1960s and 1970s, Brown Pelicans made a full comeback thanks to pesticide regulations.
- The closely related Peruvian Pelican lives along the Pacific Coast of South America from southern Ecuador to Chile. It’s a little larger than a Brown Pelican, with fine white streaking on its underparts and a blue pouch in the breeding season. These two species are the only pelicans that plunge-dive for their food.
- During a dive, the Brown Pelican tucks its head and rotates its body to the left. This maneuver is probably to cushion the trachea and esophagus—which are found on the right side of the neck—from the impact.
- The oldest Brown Pelican on record was 43 years of age.
Joseph at Richmond SPCA
Are you searching for a fun, friendly and adorable family member? My name is Joseph, and I’m the guy for you! I am pretty lonely here by myself, just waiting for my special someone to come along. Won’t you please take me home today?
Age: 9 years,
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black / Tan
Size: L (dog size guide)
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