The brown pelican is colorful during the breeding season.  The feathers on the top of his head are bright yellow with a brown and white strip down the side of his neck. When breeding season is over it fades to a dull yellow and brown.  Young birds are almost completely brown with a whitish belly.

As the pelicans patrol the shoreline looking for food, the tips of their wings are inches above the water even with the waves rolling in. When they are not gliding along the waves you can find them high in the sky slowly beating their long wings.  From sixty feet up, pelicans can spot dinner and will dive head first to make a big splash to come up with something in their beak. The pouch can hold three gallons of water which they will drain through the side of the mouth before swallowing the fish.

Brown pelicans are social birds living as long as 30 years.  They hunt and nest together in large colonies with several hundred pairs. Little mangrove islands just off the coastline are their favorite nesting spots. A pair will stay together during the breeding and nesting season helping each other with the nest building and then the feeding of their brood.

Brown Pelican in mating colors in Florida - Linda Bateman - Panhandle stock photos
Brown Pelican

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