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Aves - Neognathae - Pelecaniformes - Pelecanidae - Pelecanus - Pelecanus occidentalis

Sternum (Breast Bone) of a Pelecanus occidentalis (Brown Pelican)

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Species Description
The Brown Pelican is the smallest member of the pelican family, with an average wingspan of only six feet. The state bird of Louisiana, it lives along the coasts from Washington (Pacific) and Virginia (Atlantic) down to northern Chile and the mouth of the Amazon River, preferring warm coastal marine and estuarine environments. The Brown Pelican eats fish, which it catches by sighting from the air and diving into the water head first, trapping the fish in its mouth pouch. It then drains the water from its pouch (which can hold up to three gallons of liquid) and swallows the fish whole; while draining, the Brown Pelican is often harassed by other birds (especially gulls) that try to steal any fish. The Brown Pelican does not have a brood patch, so it incubates its eggs by holding them under the webs of its feet – essentially standing on top of them.
Skeletal Elements Available

Sternum (Breast Bone)
External Links
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia Brown Pelican Page

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