Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis

The Brown Pelican forages by plunge-diving from heights up to 20 meters. The pelican first brings its legs against the body and retracts its head, then slowly extends the neck and angles the wings backward. The head remains stable so the bird can sight prey along the length of the bill. Once in the water the pelican draws back the wings and opens the bill, centering the prey between the jaws. The bill is capable of holding about 8 kg of fish!
I took about a hundred photos to obtain this solitary image of the plunge-dive in the last second before entry into the water. Roberto, the local owner of an internet cafe, is on a paddleboard a few meters away.

Flying in formation, checking for fish in the swells. 

1. Sibley DA. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A. Knopf New York. 2000.
2. Sibley DA. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behaviour. Alfred A. Knopf New York. 2001.

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