Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis
Pelecanidae

The Brown Pelican has a wingspan of 7 feet. The pelican is a bulky bird with large bill, gray-brown body, whitish head, red-brown neck with white stripes. It flies with alternate flaps and glides. The bird sites its prey while in flight, then dives with its bill closed and enters the water in a burst of spray. At that moment it lifts its upper mandible and opens its pouch outward, forming a scoop. Once the fish is safe inside, along with water twice the weight of the bird, the bill shuts and the pelican bobs to the surface. It takes about two seconds for the bird to make its catch. A minute or so may pass while it floats with bill pointed downward waiting for water to drain out so it can swallow the fish. The Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana.

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