BROWN PELICAN


Pelecanus occidentalis


Description:

These beautiful San Diego natives are endangered due to chemical pollutant (such as DDT) absorbed from the fish they eat. Fortunately, due to the banning of many pesticides, these fantastic birds are making a comeback and can be found all around the bay and beaches. The Brown Pelicans scoop up and eat fish by plunging in groups into the water. There's also a wierd theory that these birds always see a red spot that indicates magnetic north on the earth. This way the birds always know where they are. Hmmmm, I'm not sure I believe it. These birds nest in colonies and the young are fed and cared for by both parents. In some of the pictures it looks like the bird is inside-outing its head. Could it be for communication or pouch maintanence?


Appearance:

Grayish brown body and wings. White or yellowish heads. Dark brown back of neck and white front. Immature birds have dark brown crown with no white. Dark legs. 3.75 to 4.5 feet in length.


Habitat:

Coastal cliffs and sandy beaches. One of the best places to see a colony of these birds is on the cliffs above La Jolla Cove.


Nesting:

2-3 chalky white eggs with an incubation period of 28-30 days. Fledging occurs 71-88 days after hatching. The nest consists of sticks, straw, and other debris. These birds nest in colonies.


Observed Locations:

  • La Jolla Cove, La Jolla
  • Torrey Pines, La Jolla
  • San Diego River Flood Control Channel, San Diego
  • Tijuana River Mouth, Imperial Beach





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.