Conservation Status: Removed from the Endangered Species list in 2009. The Caribbean population is a USFWS Bird of Conservation Concern, Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network Species of Conservation Concern.
Description: Large bird with long bill and expandable pouch. Juveniles are all brown with light bellies. Adults have white heads with bright red pouches during the breeding season.
Where to find them: Brown Pelicans are coastal birds, never venturing further than a half-day’s journey out to sea. California Brown Pelicans can be found all along the pacific coast from British Columbia down to the northern part of Peru, and throughout the Gulf of California. Atlantic Brown Pelicans travel along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and across the coasts of Columbia, Venezuela, and Guyana.
- The Pacific and Atlantic populations of Brown Pelicans have slightly different coloration on their pouches
- Their eyes change to a light brown or blue during the breeding season.
- Brown Pelicans metabolize some medicines differently than most other birds, so they require extra close attention to their dosing.
- Former Bird Rescue Brown Pelican patients have been re-sighted as far north as British Columbia and as far south as Mexico!
- Bird Rescue has fitted over 1,500 Brown Pelicans with blue bands.
Threats: Overfishing, Fishing gear entanglement, oil spills, Harmful Algal Blooms, warming water temperatures, habituation
View our Pelican Aviary live bird cam!
Learn more about Brown Pelicans from the Ologies podcast (Pelicanology featuring Juita Martinez)
How YOU can Help:
- Keep an eye out for banded birds.
- Report band sightings HERE or at reportband.gov.
- Fish responsibly.