The Feather Files Name: American White Pelican Alias: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos Native to and Migration: Northern breeding populations (Alberta and Saskatchewan) migrate to southern California, the Gulf States, Mexico, and Central America. Populations breeding in Texas and Mexico are resident. Date Seen: May 2018 Location: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah Notes: Snowy white with black flight feathers visible only when the wings are spread. A small patch of ornamental feathers on the chest can become yellow in spring. The bill and legs are yellow-orange. A yellow plate forms on the upper bill of breeding adults. These birds feed from the water’s surface, dipping their beaks into the water to catch fish and other aquatic organisms. They often upend, like a very large dabbling duck. They do not plunge-dive the way Brown Pelicans do.
The Brown Pelicans of Cabo San Lucas are frequent visitors at the piers, where they follow in coming fishing boats, beg for hand-outs and steal fish from the boaters if they can. The Feather Files Name: Pelecanus occidentalis Alias: Brown Pelican Color: Adult birds are gray-brown with yellow heads and white necks. In breeding plumage, the back and sides of the neck turn a rich, dark reddish-brown. Immatures are gray-brown above (including the head and neck) with a pale whitish belly and breast. Migration: Most brown pelican populations in this part of Mexico are resident. Date Seen: January 7, 2017 Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico