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All About Birds
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Brown Pelican
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The Brown Pelican is a large bird that lives along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico in North and South America. Its scientific name is Pelecanus occidentalis (Genus and species).

Anatomy: The Brown Pelican has a long, straight bill with an enormous pouch attached to it. This pouch holds three times as much as its stomach can. The pelican uses the pouch to catch fish, feed its young, and cool itself (the pouch is full of blood vessels, which lose heat near the surface of the skin). The Brown Pelican on average is about 4 feet (1.2 m) long, weighs roughly 9 pounds (4 kg), and has a 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 foot (2 to 2.3 m) wingspan. Although it is a large bird, the Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican.

Diet: Brown Pelicans are carnivores (meat-eaters) and hunt during the day (they are diurnal). They eat mostly fish and some amphibians and crustaceans.

Nest and Eggs: Brown Pelicans build platform-like nests made of grass and sticks located on the ground or in low trees. In each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time), females lay 2-3 chalky-white eggs.



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