SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pelecanus occidentalis
OTHER NAMES: American brown pelican, common pelican.
STATUS: Breeder. Common on Gulf Coast. Occasional inland. Low Conservation Concern.
DESCRIPTION: The brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is a fairly large water bird weighing up to eight pounds and can have a wing span of over seven feet. The adult is dark grey to silver in coloration, with a white and brown head and a light yellow crown. Juveniles are grey-brown all over with white under parts. Pelicans have long bills with an expandable pouch that is three times the size of their stomach, short legs and webbed feet.
The brown pelican and the American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) are the only pelican species that occur in Alabama. Five other species inhabit various habitats throughout the world. Brown pelicans are the smallest member of the pelican family and are known for their low soaring over the waters surface and diving after their prey.