A bird of the coastlines, rarely found inland in South
Dakota. The Brown Pelican is a spectacular plunge-diver, rocketing
downward from 75 feet or higher as it plunges for fish below the surface.
Brown Pelicans were seriously endangered by the 1960s, with North American
populations reduced to a small Florida population. With the banning of
DDT, Brown Pelicans have made a very strong comeback and are no longer
endangered, although it is still officially listed as threatened.
Habitat: Generally shallow waters
along coastlines. Only occasionally found on freshwater lakes.
Diet: Nearly all fish,
Behavior: Primarily feeds by plunge-diving.
Will also occasionally dip its bill down for prey while swimming, as well as
scavenge for food.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Generally silent,
with occasional grunts and croaks.
Migration: Normally a year-long resident of coastal areas, Brown Pelicans (especially
immatures) occasionally wander inland in the summer.
Status: Brown Pelicans declined
very sharply by the 1960's, victims of eggshell thinning and breeding failures
due to pesticides (primarily DDT). Brown Pelicans have recovered very well
following the banning of DDT, and are still increasing in numbers and range.
eNature.com: Brown Pelican
Whatbird.com: Brown Pelican
Photo Information: February 13th, 2008 - Bon
Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Brown Pelican photos.