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American White Pelican

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, photo © by Michael Plagens

Even from a distance, massive white birds with huge orange bills are easily recognized as American White Pelicans. (The smaller bird at center is a ring-billed gull.) Observed at the Salton Sea, Imperial Co., California, Feb. 2011. The Salton Sea lies in the Colorado Desert, a sub-section of the Sonoran Desert.

Massive white bird with an over-sized orange-red bill. In flight the wings are sharply black and white. American White Pelicans gather where there are abundant fish to eat. In the Sonoran Desert this often means tilapia which have been introduced for fish farming activities.

Year-round Resident - but more common in winter

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 2 June 2011