The Brown Pelican, also called Californian, is a large bird
but the smallest of global pelicans. It has a dark grey
body, brown chest/belly, brown neck with white head and yellow-white crown. The lower bill has a dark pouch and can have a red lower tip in the breeding season. It is similar to the Peruvian Pelican but significantly smaller.
Photos were taken by Alexandra Makhnina in Mexico.
It is one of three American species of pelican, one of two seen in North America. Unlike the American White, it is a marine species.
Its range is from Canada to the Amazon estuary on the Atlantic or to Chile on the Pacific, but most are in the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic) or California/Mexico/Central America (Pacific).
Breeding adult Brown Pelicans have the brown neck and ginger crown; juveniles and non-breeding birds have a white neck and crown, the latter sometimes with a yellowish wash.
The Brown Pelican, together with the Peruvian, are the only two pelicans which fish by diving.
Like other pelicans, it is a gregarious species. Surprisingly, they are also found extremely high up in trees, balancing on thin branches with their webbed feet.
Juvenile Brown Pelicans have a greyish-white neck and front, the latter gradually turning to brown.
More Brown Pelicans photographed by Alexandra Makhnina in Costa