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Photo Information
Copyright: Jim White (jmirah) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-08
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR, 67mm UV filter
Exposure: f/11, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-11-03 3:39
Viewed: 3476
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Pelecanidae
Genus: Pelecanus

Click Here For More Info On The Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, 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 (6-12 lb) and has a wingspan from 1.83 to 2.5 m (6 to 8.2 ft).

It occurs on coasts in the Americas from Washington and Virginia south to northern Chile and the mouth of the Amazon River, as well as the island of Saut d'Eau in Trinidad and Tobago. 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. Their young are hatched in broods of about 3, and eat around 150 lbs. of fish in the 8-10 month period they are cared for.

This bird is distinguished from the American White Pelican 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 single file, flying low over the water's surface.

The nest location varies from a simple scrape on the ground on an island to a bulky stick nest in a low tree. These birds nest in colonies, usually on islands.

It is a myth that Brown Pelicans go blind from diving into the water to catch fish, causing them to starve to death because they can no longer see to hunt. However, pelicans can live and fish for up to thirty years without going blind. Pelicans can go blind from pollution, abuse and disease, including chemical spills near the coast, fishing line, and avian botulism from tainted fish caught in overly warm water.

Pesticides like DDT and dieldrin threatened the Brown Pelican's future in the southeast United States and California in the early 1970s. Pesticides also threatened the pelican population in Florida in this period. A research group from the University of Tampa headed by Dr. Ralph Schreiber conducted research in the Tampa Bay/St Petersburg area and found that DDT caused the pelican eggshells to be overly-thin and incapable of supporting the embryo to maturity. As a result of this research, DDT usage was eliminated in Florida and the rest of the country.

Along with the American White Pelican, the Brown Pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

There are five subspecies:

* P. o. californicus (California Brown Pelican)
* P. o. carolinensis (Eastern Brown Pelican) Gmelin, 1789
* P. o. occidentalis (Caribbean Brown Pelican) Linnaeus, 1766
* P. o. murphy (Pacific Brown Pelican) Wetmore, 1945
* P. o. urinator (Galapagos Brown Pelican) Wetmore, 1945

The Peruvian Pelican, Pelecanus thagus, used to be considered a subspecies of the Brown Pelican (P. o. thagus). Due to its well-defined allopatry and because it is much larger and heavier than its relatives, it has been reclassified as a separate species.


nasokoun, CeltickRanger, nglen, maurydv has marked this note useful
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Hi Jim,

Definitely a great shot! ... a picture worthy of an advertising campaign. Filled with veryu elements very well distributed in an excellent composition. It's impossible not to advertising the great sharpness achieved.



hello Jim
great moment great shot,you exceptionally froze the scene and the expression of pelican! bravo!!!
TFS thanks for sharing

hello Jim

i love much more and i would say only photos
of birds and wild animals with no sign of civilization,
but here your photo it is a very beautiful one
and i would say a very funny one, shot with superb
focus great sharpness and details of the pelican, TFS


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-11-03 6:50]

Hi Jim,the perfect timing was a secret of this fantastic pic! What a beautiful moment,it seem to be in an airport whit a flight landing,very nice composition too whit the advertising under the bird.My best compliments for the excellent quality of sharpness and colors too,have a nice day,Luciano

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-03 7:31]

Hello Jim,
We have to accept that much of the wildlife we see nowadays is close to or in the middle of human habitation.
This is a great capture of a Brown Pelican about to land on a warning sign. The timing is superb and the image humorous.
Thanks for this smile!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-11-03 10:43]

Hi JIm. A good inflight Brown Pelican coming in too land . It looks like a jumbo jet with its feet down. Taken with good detail and natural colours. Well seen and taken TFS.

Hello Jim,
another beautiful picture of the Brown Pelican taken with very good detail and splendid natural colours, great timing, nice composition.
Best regards

Great landing shot. I like the settings a lot as well. Nice composure.

Elegante instantánea Jim, con unos parámetros de disparo bien ajustados. Buena también la pose del ave. Originalidad con el complemento del cartel.
Un trabajo diferente !
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

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