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Last Updated July 10, 2006


Kingdom Animalia:

  Phylum Chordata:

    Subphylum Vertebrata:

       Class Aves:

       Order Pelecaniformes:

         Family Pelecanidae:

           Genus Pelecanus:

Click to enlarge

Pelecanus occidentalis

Brown Pelican


These are pictures of pelicans I took last month when I went to Florida. I believe they are brown pelicans, Pelicanus occidentalis. One day, the air was fairly still on the beach and we saw a large flock of these birds feeding. Before that day, I had never thought of them as pleasing to the eye, but these birds are actually quite graceful in flight and fun to watch. As we watched them dive for fish I noticed an interesting interaction between the pelicans and seagulls. Several times, I saw seagulls wait for a pelican to dive and then go down and try to get in on the action. A few times, I even saw the seagulls land on the backs of the pelicans while they prepared to pull their bills out of the water. As the pelicans pulled their heads back and tried to swallow the fish, the seagulls would lunge forward and try to steal the fish out of the mouths of the pelicans. I was not able to film that event but I did get a video of a pelican diving for fish with a seagull following (2.6mb, 7 sec).


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Pelecanus occidentalis






Pelecanus occidentalis