Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis

Images from U.S. Fish and Wildlfe Service

Field Marks
  • Large, dark waterbird
  • Long bill with extensible pouch
  • Legs short
  • Body large and heavy
  • Feet webbed
  • Wings long and broad
  • Tail short
  • Soars close to water surface
  • Dives from the air into the water


Unique among the world's seven species of pelicans, the Brown Pelican is found along the ocean shores and not on inland lakes. It is the only dark pelican, and also the only one that plunges from the air into the water to catch its food.


Has never been recorded in the Atlanta metro area, but is common along the coast of Georgia