Largely a coastal bird, the Brown Pelican inhabits warm waters and shores of the southern Pacific and Atlantic, sometimes moving inland after breeding. Pacific adults tout red-skinned throats during the breeding season, with their Atlantic and Gulf Coast counterparts’ a greenish-black; adults on all three coasts' eyes turn ice-blue. Both pelican parents raise their young, large and downy chicks covered in pink-gray skin. Thanks to years of conservation efforts aimed at reversing the effects of DDT, the Brown Pelican is currently a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The Louisiana State Bird now faces new threats, like 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill: Five years out from the disaster, the spill’s effects on this pelican are still not fully known.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.
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