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Brown Pelican


The endemic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator, pelícano) is an unmistakable bird with large, heavy body and enormous, deep bill. Mating adult pelicans have a striking white head and maroon neck; when they do not have their breeding plumage, their necks are gray.

Brown pelicans breed individually or in small colonies, making their nests in mangroves or small bushes on virtually all islands in the archipelago. The female lays three large eggs, usually during the colder months of May to July, which are then incubated by both parents for about one month (if they are not eaten by the Galápagos Hawk).

They feed mainly on large fish, which they catch by plunging in the ocean (a graceless but effective dive), filling their pouches with sea water, returning to land, and finally filtering out the food out by draining the pouch head-down. Since food is thus delivered in one large package, competition among the young tends to get pretty fierce (and provides an interesting sight to see).


Brown pelicans are common in the central islands and Bartolomé.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Champion Islet Visitor Site, Sea Birds - Galápagos, Getting Around the Galapagos Islands, Galápagos Islands Geology, Blue-Footed Booby, Reptiles - Galápagos, Mammals - Galapagos, Striated Heron, The Waved Albatross and Galápagos Giant Tortoise.

10 Feb 2010

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