Listed Status-Delisted in 2009 due to recovery of species by Us Fish and Wildlife Service.


Usually found in warm coastal marine and estuarine environments.


Eats fish and some marine invertebrates.

Sights prey from air and plunges into water head-first. Traps fish in extended pouch. Drains water out the sides of the bill, and then swallows the fish.


Breeds primarily on islands.

Nests made of large flat nest of sticks lined with grasses or leaves. Placed in short trees, shrubs, or on ground. Nests in colonies, often with herons and other waterbirds.  Clutch Size is 1–4 eggs with egg description of chalky white eggs and

condition at hatching is pink, naked, and helpless.


Pelicans incubate their eggs with their feet. They hold the eggs under the webs that stretch from the front toes to the hind toe, essentially standing on the eggs to warm them.


Interesting Facts:

While the Brown Pelican is draining the water from its bill after a dive, gulls often try to steal the fish right out of its pouch. They sometimes even perch on the pelican's head or back and reach in.


Look for the brown pelican around where people are fishing because the brown pelican is also known for stealing fish from fishermen and will hang around piers waiting for handouts.




In 2008 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has issued a new rule alerting people to not feed pelicans. Feeding more than one pelican is considered a second degree misdemeanor that's punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.


At piers and docks, if birds parts are thrown to shore birds large bones that are left over after filleting a fish can get stuck in a bird's throat.


"Pelicans get caught with fishing hooks while trying to steal fish directly from the fishing line. It's not unusual to see a pelican with a hook embedded in its pouch and fishing line trailing behind it,"


Embedded hooks can easily cause the soft skin of the bird's pouch to tear, leaving the wound vulnerable to infection. In some cases, according to the FWC, a bird can even die from starvation because it becomes too sick and weak from an infection.


Under the rule, feeding groups of pelicans is prohibited by individuals and organizations. It's also no longer acceptable to dump or discharge large amounts of fish scraps and bycatch from a fish house or boat that would attract large numbers of pelicans to the area.



Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

US Fish and Wildlife Service


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