Brown Pelican /pelicano pardo (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Status: Locally common resident along the Lower Coast; occasionally found inland (primarily) along the Rio Grande. Accidental to Falcon Dam. Often seen perched on poles or flying in formation.
Habitat: Open coast and bays.
Best Spots: Fairly easy to see year-round at Boca Chica and South Padre Island. At Boca Chica, Brown Pelicans can be seen from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the jetties. At South Padre, to be looked for in the Laguna Madre, especially near the jetties. Also seen at the World Birding Center's South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center (near the SPI Convention Center).
Similar Species: With its white plumage, orange-yellow bill, and black flight feathers, the American White Pelican is visually distinctive from the mostly brownish plumage of Brown Pelican. Although both species may be found side-by-side in the Laguna Madre, American White Pelican generally prefers inland freshwater lakes or brackish lagoons and feed by schooling fish in large groups. Conversely, Brown Pelicans are solitary hunters, making spectacular plunge-dives in the deeper waters of the open coast.
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All Bird call recordings © John C. Arvin.
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Nine Unique Locations
A Birder's Eye View of the Seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Welcome to a birder’s eye view of the seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy our annual cycle! The resulting avifauna in deep South Texas is the most diverse north of the Mexican border. The four county area that makes up the lower Rio Grande Valley has recorded over 500 species of birds. This is more species of birds than have been recorded in all but two or three entire states. Small wonder that birders from across the continent make pilgrimages to the region. Happy Birding!
Birds Check List
What is a checklist?
A "Bird Checklist" is a complete list of birds that have been seen or heard in a specific region like Texas or the Rio Grande Valley. Checklists can be used as a personal diary of your travels.
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Checklists by site: