Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Papiamento name: pelikan
The brown pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican worldwide, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is 106-137 cm (42-54 in) in length, weighs from 2.75 to 5.5 kg (6.1 to 12 lb) and has a wingspan of 1.83 to 2.5 m (6.0 to 8.2 ft). This pelican is distinguished from the American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) by its brown body and its habit of diving for fish from the air, as opposed to co-operative fishing from the surface. It eats mainly fish and amphibians as well as crustaceans. Groups of brown pelicans often travel in a single file, flying low over the water's surface.
Brown pelicans nest in colonies, usually on islands. Nest location varies from a simple scrape on the ground on an island to a bulky stick nest in a low tree. The young hatch in broods of about three, and eat around 150 lbs. of fish in the 8-10 month period during which they are cared for.
The brown pelican occurs on both coasts in the Americas and in the Caribbean. On the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast their range extends from Nova Scotia to Venezuela, and to the mouth of the Amazon River. On the Pacific Ocean they are found from British Columbia to south central Chile, including the Galapagos Islands. Some immature birds may stray to inland freshwater lakes. After nesting, North American birds move in flocks further north along the coasts, returning to warmer waters for winter.
Photo credit: Henkjan Kevit (SHAPE/DCNA)
Dutch CaribbeanArubabiodiversitybirdpelicanPelecanidaebrown pelicanPelecanus occidentalispelikanSHAPE
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