Brown Pelican at Quivira

A coastal vagrant makes an appearance at Little Salt Marsh.

July 22, 2013


Beginning on July 20, 2013, an adult Brown Pelican appeared at Little Salt Marsh.  During the summer, water conditions are much improved over those from the two previous summers, when much of Quivira went completely dry.  Both Little and Big Salt Marshes are both full.  This has been very attractive to large numbers of water-oriented birds, such as Great and Snowy Egrets, White-faced Ibis, and American White Pelicans.  As many as 200 of the latter are using Quivira's marshes.  The Brown Pelican was observed on several days loosely hanging out with the White Pelicans, either roosting on islands within Little Salt Marsh, or flying to smaller wetlands in the area.

 Pelican, Brown staff 448

Digi-scoped photo of the Brown Pelican taken on July 21, 2013 at Little Salt Marsh

Previous Brown Pelican sightings at Quivira include May, 1997 and again in May, 2010 (adult).

Brown Pelicans typically are found on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts, and rarely are found far from the coasts.  Although both species feed primarily on fish, American White Pelicans feed by dipping into the water while swimming (and often by engaging in synchronized, group feeding), while Brown Pelicans feed by diving head first into the water from high in the air.