Adult Brown Pelican in flight

Adult Brown Pelican in flight Adult Brown Pelican in flight – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) were common year round along the Gulf coast when I lived in Florida. I would see them floating in the water, resting on sandbars and beaches, diving for prey and in flight.

This adult Brown Pelican is in breeding plumage as indicated by the orange tipped bill, what you can not see because of the wing and neck position is the dark plumage along the backside of the neck.  I photographed this bird on the west coast of Florida as it flew past me over the Gulf of Mexico.



  1. Tammy Karr April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Great photo of the pelican! They are in breeding plumage here right now; I love those colors!

    • Mia McPherson April 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

      Thank you Tammy, I love the breeding colors too.

  2. Bob Zeller April 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Great photo. I love how you caught all the great detail. We had one visit west Texas a couple of years ago.

  3. Julie G. April 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Beautiful in-flight capture, Mia! When visiting my parents in Florida, I love to watch the Brown Pelicans dive for fish.

  4. Julie Brown April 9, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Very nice wing display, Mia. I think the brown pelicans are especially beautiful. I saw so many of them in various plumages and life stages during a sunset shoot pontoon boat ride on Lake O when I was in Florida. I will post those images as my spring break series progresses on my photoblog.

    • Mia McPherson April 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Julie, I am looking forward to seeing your Brown Pelican images!

  5. judy watson April 9, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Handsome bird!

    • Mia McPherson April 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Thank you Judy, they are so different in color than our American White Pelicans yet both species look so … prehistoric.

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