Brown Pelican – Louisiana state bird

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

State(s):Louisiana

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Overview

Key Facts

Life Span15 to 25 Years
FlightFlying Bird

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Type

Gulls

Dimensions

Weight2000-5000 g
Wing Span200 cm
Length100-137 cm

Taxonomic Serial Number 174685

Compared to the Average State Bird

How the Brown Pelican measures up:

  • Wing span164cm and 456% larger than the average state bird’s wingspan, (36cm).
  • Weight4,915g5,782%, and 59 times heavier than the average state bird’s weight (85g)
  • Length110cm407%, and 5.1 times longer than the average state bird’s length (27cm)

Scientific Classification

KingdomPhylumClassOrderFamilySpecies
AnimaliaChordataAvesPelecaniformesPelecanidaePelecanus occidentalis

Appearance

Appearance Description

AppearanceLarge and stocky build with long and broad wings. Gray-brown overall with pale yellow heads and white necks. Notable for its very long bill, membranous throat pouch, thin neck, and big, dark body.

Behavior

Lifestyle

DietSmall fish such as the menhaden, herring, mullet, and sheepshead as well as small crustaceans.
Communication StylesVaried chirping and clacking, although typically silent when away from nest.
Migratory BehaviorGenerally non-migratory, although some Atlantic populations disperse northward in the summer.

Range of Habitation

Habitation

Habitat

Estuaries and coastal marine habitats

Predators

none.

Mating and Breeding

Breeding Overview

Breeding BehaviorMonogamous, but pairs with a new mate each year.
Breeding SeasonMarch-May
NestingVariable nests on ground or exposed treetops.

Eggs

Brown Pelican Eggs
ColorChalky white, becoming stained throughout incubation.
Clutch Size2 to 4 egg(s)
Egg Laying MonthsMarch-May

Chick description

Helpless, with bare pink skin and open eyes.

Birding

Birding Facts

Interesting FactThe oldest Brown Pelican on record was 43 years old.
Best Season to ObserveAutumnSummerWinter
Observation TipsGo to the southern coasts of the United States and look for huge birds gliding low over the water.

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