Weeks Bay Foundation Photo Album
Photos of Pelicans

Pelicans (above and below) are colonial nesters; they require predator- free sites, often on islands and close to foraging areas, to nest successfully.

Photos by Marlene Cashen
Gaillard Island
27 May 2005

 

American White Pelican
(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

American White Pelican is fairly common on the Alabama coast fall, winter, and spring and uncommon in the summer. One of the most distinctive birds in North America, this huge pelican, with its immense bill and nine foot wingspan is one of the largest waterbirds. The entire flock may work communally to catch fishes by herding them into shallow water or an enclosed area, then scooping them out of the water with pouches that can hold up to three gallons of water.

(Photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 
Brown Pelican Chicks  "Do my feet look big?"
(photo by Noel Peyton)
 
Gaillard Island
Mobile Bay, June 2, 2006
 

 

American White Pelicans 
(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
  
Flocks of American White Pelicans soar over the Mobile Bay area winter, spring, and fall

(photo by Marlene Cashen)

 


Brown Pelican
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Brown Pelican is common all year on the Alabama coast and breeds on Gaillard Island in Mobile Bay. Coastal and pelagic, it eats fishes taken near the surface by plunge-diving from air and scooping up prey with pouch. The wingspan is seven feet.

(Photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 

 

Brown Pelican
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Adult breeding plumage

(Photo by Marlin Gipson)

 

 

Brown Pelican        (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Gaillard Island Rookery

(Photo by Marlin Gipson)

 

 

Brown Pelican young
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Gaillard Island Rookery May 27, 2005

(Photo by Karen Gipson)

 

 

Pelican Eggs
Usually female Brown Pelicans lay two or three eggs. Single clutches are the rule, although pelicans may replace eggs lost or taken by predators early in the season.

Photo by Marlene Cashen
Gaillard Island
27 May 2005

 

 

Brown Pelican
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Juvenile plumage

(Photo by Patricia Sevening)

 
Pelican

 

Brown Pelican
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

"Oh, a wonderous bird is the pelican! His bill holds more than his belican. He can take in his beak enough food for a week. But I'm darned if I know how the helican."
Dixon Lanier Merritt
(1879-1972)

Brown Pelicans

 

Brown Pelican
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

These large, heavy waterbirds have massive bills and huge throat pouches used as dip nets to catch fish.

 

Brown Pelicans


Brown Pelican
egg and young

(Pelecanus occidentalis)

The Brown Pelican lays from one to three eggs, which are either whitish or dirty brown in color. The young on hatching are naked, homely looking creatures but soon become covered with white down feathers.

 
Brown Pelicans


Brown Pelican naked young
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Adult Brown Pelicans feed their offspring by swallowing fish and then regurgitating partially digested portions back into the pouch. The baby pelican sticks its bill and head into its parent's pouch for its meal.

 


Brown Pelicans

 

Brown Pelican young with natal down
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Young Brown Pelicans grow slowly, and usually it is midsummer before they have completely lost their natal down, replaced it with contour feathers, and acquired their flight feathers.

 
Brown Pelicans

 

Brown Pelican young with natal down
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Despite their many marvelous structural adaptations, Brown Pelicans have lost all vocal powers. The only sound ever heard from a pelican is the hissing, snakelike noise that the young make when intruders come near their nest.

 

Brown Pelican

Pelecanus occidentalis

photo by John Borom

In breeding adults, the hindneck is dark chestnut and a yellow patch appears at the base of the foreneck.

This photo was taken March 18, 2007.

 
Brown Pelicans

 

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican (above)
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Juvenile (1st year) Plumage
Young birds have a brownish-gray neck, a browner back, and largely white under parts.

 
Brown Pelican

 

 

The full-fledged young are quite unlike their parents. The front, sides, and back of the long neck are brown.

 

Brown Pelicans

 

 

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelican

 

Brown Pelican (above & side)
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Adult Non-breeding Plumage
(August - January)
The front, sides, and back of the long neck
and head are white.

 

Brown Pelicans

 

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelican (above)
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Adult Breeding Plumage
(December - August)
The front and back of the long neck of the adults are a rich mahogany brown and the top of the head and the sides of the neck are white.

 
Brown Pelicans Brown Pelicans

 

Brown Pelican
(above and side)
(Pelecanus occidentalis)

Looking for an easy fish meal in early January.

Pelicans

Rookery of Pelicans at Weeks Bay

Pelican
 


 
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