Totipalmate Birds (Pelecaniformes) - RStade

Brown Pelican – Landing

Pelecanus occidentalis

October – Texas

L=51”......WS=79”......WT=8.2lb Order: Pelecaniformes (Totipalmate Birds) Family: Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

Brown Pelicans nearly disappeared in North America from the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s due to the man made pesticide endrin entering the marine food chain. By 1963 the Brown Pelican disappeared completely in Louisiana, the “Pelican State”, and in 1970 it was declared an Endangered Species. In 1972 legislation banning or reducing the use of several pesticides was enacted and the population began to increase. In 1985 the Brown Pelican was removed from the Endangered Species list in the southeastern U.S. and by the late the 1990’s populations returned to pre-pesticide levels. Now the Brown Pelican is considered one of the great success stories in wildlife conservation. Brown Pelicans are found almost exclusively in marine habitats although this particular bird was found about 100 miles inland on a freshwater lake about one month after Hurricane Ike landed. They catch their prey not by swimming and dipping their bill in the water like all other pelicans, but rather by plunging from flight or perches into the water and catching the unsuspecting prey.

Pelican Brown