Sunday, January 2, 2011

Brown Pelican

A male Brown Pelican with its colorful head feathers, showing off for the camera, Cancun, Mexico; 12/19/10.

A Brown Pelican gliding low over the water in search of food, Isla Contoy, Mx; 12/21/10.

A Brown Pelican taking the plunge; Cancun, Mx, 12/19/10.

A Brown Pelican feasting after it traps its prey in its pouch, Isla Contoy, Mx; 12/21/10.
As the Great-tailed Grackles were common on land in the Yucatan, the Brown Pelican (Above, top) was its counterpart at shorelines. Everywhere we went that had a saltwater seacoast, there was bound to be a few Brown Pelicans present. I found them to be very interesting to observe. They fly low along the water searching for food (schools of small fish) (Above middle), then they soar up in the air and make a fantastic dive plunge (Above, bottom two pics) into the water hoping to capture its prey in its large pouch of a lower bill. They also like to roost on top of posts (Below, top), and almost anything flat that gives them a resting spot. Like the American White Pelican that I observed on the Mississippi River ( my 8/11 and 8/12 Posts: http://northernillinoisbirder.blogspot.com/2010/08/american-white-pelicans_12.html ), the Brown Pelicans seem to fly in unison, gliding gracefully and flapping their wings in unison.  One of our guides to Isla Contoy, called the Brown Pelicans, "The Mexican Air Force," because they are always present and  "on patrol" (Below bottom). 
 female Brown Pelican resting at Isla Mujeres, Mx; 12/20/10.


The "Mexican Air Force" on patrol duty keeping the shores of Mexico safe from intruders, Cancun, Mx; 12/19/10.
 Brown Pelicans are pretty much found along the entire Gulf Coast, along both coasts of the Baja Peninsula, and throughout the coastal islands of the Caribbean.

I found that during the winter season, most birds are not in their breeding season, but that is untrue for the Brown Pelicans' mating season, which starts in December and runs through August - a rather long breeding season as birds go. As you can see by the photos, during breeding season the male Brown Pelican's head feathers become a bright white and yellow with a deep red back of the neck.

Iguana of the day, Cancun, Mx; 12/19/10.


2 comments:

tchesney said...

Wow, these are great captures...I especially love the second to the last image of the 2 flying...looks like they are having a conversation!

Gary Kurtz said...

Great photos. I shared this blog on twitter and stumbleupon.