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Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Breeding adult (right)

General Description: Atlantic Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) are very large birds (wingspan over 6 feet) with an enormous bill and stretchy skin at the base of the bill that expands to form a pouch when feeding.

Adult Atlantic Brown Pelicans are dark overall with a light head. During the nonbreeding season, the crown is white or pale yellow, the neck is white, the bill is yellowish, and the throat pouch is yellowish.

During the courtship season, the crown becomes golden-yellow, the throat pouch becomes black, the back of the neck becomes reddish-brown, and the bill becomes red. During nesting, the back of the neck remains reddish-brown, but the other features return to the nonbreeding condition. Compare with American White Pelicans and Pacific Brown Pelicans.

Juveniles have a dirty-gray head and neck, dark body, and light underparts.

Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Post courtship, summer adult

Taxonomy: Pelecaniformes, Pelecanidae

Favored Habitat: Coastal areas, but occasionally inland rivers and lakes.

Where to Find: Don't look for Atlantic Brown Pelicans around Las Vegas. Rather, look for them on the east coast of North America. Around Las Vegas, keep an eye out for Pacific Brown Pelicans during winter at Lake Mead.

Comments: Brown Pelicans generally feed by diving head first into the water to catch fish. They sometimes also feed by dipping their long bill into the water. American White Pelicans don't dive into the water.

Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and nestling; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and nestling; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and nestling; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and nestling; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and nestling; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and nestlings; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican, summer adult; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Brown Pelican adult and fledgelings; Dunedin, Florida
Atlantic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Atlantic Brown Pelican, adult and juvenile
more to come ...
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120919

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