brown pelican

This large dark bird is unmistakable soaring in the air along the coast. With about a seven-foot wingspan, it flies gracefully above the water, then dives into the sea with a clumsy splash, searching for its next meal. But the brown pelican is even more noticeable perched on a pier: its long bill is typically as big as (if not bigger than) its head. The most recognizable feature of this bird is the bulging pouch that hangs under its bill.

Image credits: main image, courtesy of Mick Thompson/CC BY-NC-2.0.