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Brown Pelican at the Beach

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During a beach walk while in the Riviera Maya we spotted a Caribbean Brown Pelican. Pelicans live all over the world except Antarctica. The Brown Pelicans are most numerous in tropical climates. They thrive on dry islands and around the coastal waters especially in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are an iconic symbol of the region.

You’ll notice the bird has a long neck, and large body placed on short legs with webbed feet and, above all, a unique long beak ending with a hook. and a characteristic very large gular pouch placed along the beak used for fishing. Adult Brown Pelicans are gray-brown birds with yellow heads and white necks. When they are in breeding plumage, the back and sides of the neck turn a dark reddish-brown. Immature ones have a gray-brown head and neck with a pale whitish belly and breast.

This Brown Pelican looked very friendly, and was an attraction for beachgoers and to me. I had the impression that he was saying to each of us on the beach, “take a photo of me please” and posing for it. They are generally friendly birds, but experts recommend not touching them due to their size and ferocity when disturbed. Pelicans can live from 16 to 23 years.

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