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The Brown Pelican – Seen throughout Belize

the brown pelican of belize


Unique among the world’s seven species of pelicans, the Brown Pelican is found along the ocean shores and not on inland lakes of Belize. It is the only dark pelican, and also the only one that plunges from the air into the water to catch its food.
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. The pelican itself, however, is not above stealing fish from other seabirds. It also follows fishing boats and hangs around piers for handouts.
The Brown Pelican frequently lowers its head onto its shoulders with the bill open, pulls its head back, and stretches the pouch over its throat and neck. The exposed neck looks like a large lump sticking up out of the pouch.
Unlike most birds, which warm their eggs with the skin of their breasts, 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. This peculiar incubation method made them vulnerable to the effects of the pesticide DDT. The DDT made the eggshells thin, and the incubating parents frequently cracked their eggs.

Belize Brown pelican Bird


The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Belize, birds, Brown Pelican, Central America | , , , , , | Leave a comment