Brown Pelican Over Ocean Beach

This picture shows a Brown Pelican in flight over Ocean Beach on San Francisco's Pacific Coast.  The Brown Pelican is smaller than the American White Pelican.  The average length of this bird is 40-50 inches.

Unlike the American White Pelicans which fish while floating on the water, the Brown Pelicans catch their food by diving upon fish.  At times they will do a high dive into the water, at other times they employ a gliding dive.

Also, the behavior of the Brown Pelicans differs from the American White Pelicans in that they stay put throughout the year on the entire western coast of the United States.  Like the American White Pelicans, the Brown Pelicans are found throughout the year on the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and halfway North on the U.S. Atlantic coast.  During Summer, they can be found as far North as New York.

In San Francisco, the Brown Pelican can often be seen flying up and down the Pacific coast.  At times they are seen inside the Golden Gate on San Francisco Bay.  Perhaps when the fishing industry was thriving, Brown Pelicans were more common on the Bay than is the case today.

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