Pelican, Brown

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ADULT Has streaked, silvery gray upperparts and pale-streaked, brown underparts. Head and neck are whitish in winter, variably flushed with orange-yellow on crown and forehead, with yellowish pink bill and gray-brown gular pouch; breeding bird is similar but has dark brown on rear of neck.
JUVENILE Mainly brown plumage, but with a whitish belly; seen from below in flight, note the pale margin to underwing coverts that forms a subtle stripe

Length: 45-54"

Mostly silent

Unmistakably a pelican, given the body shape, huge bill, and expandable gular pouch; mainly dark plumage allows easy separation from American White Pelican. Swims effortlessly and with grace, using large, webbed feet. Also extremely impressive in flight and capable of sustained gliding and soaring. Feeds by diving from a considerable height, pulling back the wings at the last second and engulfing fish in expanded gular pouch when submerged. Sexes are similar.