Brown Pelican - national bird of barbados

The national bird of Barbados is the brown pelican. The scientific name of Brown Pelican is Pelecanus occidentalis. Basically, it is a North American bird one of the three species of pelicans found in which only two species feed by in water.

Brown Pelican belongs to the Pelican family Pelecanidae. It is a very huge and stocky seabird which feeds by diving in water in the sea. Brown Pelican is the smallest species in all known 8 species of the pelican but apart that it is still one of the larger seabirds. 

The length of the adult pelican is 1 to 1.52 meters and has a wingspan of 2.03 to 2.48 meters. The average weight of the brown pelican is about 3.5 kg but it varies in the range of 2-5kg.

Brown pelican is a piscivore (piscivore only feed on fish) & feed by plunging in the water, the main fish which accounts for 90% of its diet is menhaden.

The other fish it feeds on are mainly anchovy, sheepshead, silversides, minnows, pigfish, pinfish, herring, mullets, sardines. sometimes it eats non-fishy prey like crustaceans especially prawns, and occasionally it also feeds on amphibians, eggs, and nestlings of other birds.

Brown Pelicans belongs to the monogamous family of breeders which means both of the parents take care of their nestlings. But in the case of brown pelicans, it is only for one breeding cycle, they do not make a pair for lifelike other monogamous do. 

Once the male finds a site for a nest, it starts attracting females by performing display of head movements.

when the female chooses the male counterpart, it starts building a nest from leaves, pebbles, and sticks at the chosen site.                                                             The brown pelicans are colonial and make colonies that might be for many years. After bonding and nest are ready the female lays 2-3 eggs in a clutch.                                                                                          But only one brood raised every year others died by predators or for other reasons. The incubation period is of 28-30 days and both partners take care of their duties.
The average lifespan of Brown pelican is around 25 years, but a pelican recorded to live for a lifespan of more than 31 years.

Facts about The Brown Pelican:-

  • Brown pelicans are one of two species found in North America feed by plunging in water.
  •  Brown pelicans are the smallest species in all known 8 species of pelicans. But still, they are one of the largest seabirds.
  • The adult brown pelicans are of grey-brown birds with yellow heads and white necks.
  • Belongs to the group of piscivore birds which feeds only on fishes. The favorite fish food of this seabird is menhaden (90% of brown pelican diet if consist of menhaden).
  • Brown pelican natural habitats are the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to the mouth of Amazon river, and along the British Columbia to northern Chile coast.
  • These birds make the nest on isolated islands free from the land predators.
  • Brown pelican is a colonial bird and lives in groups & colonies.

Note:- sources -


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