Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Origin: North America
Sighted at: Sunset Key, Key West, FL

Pelicans are amazing. They often hang around on their own or in pairs, but they’ll very often join up with a flock of smaller seabirds, even if only for a little while.

Pelicans are known for the pouch in their mouths, which can be used to hold prey. In fact, their name is derived from the Greek word “pelekys,” meaning “axe,” referring to their tremendous beaks.

Brown Pelicans, a species of pelican endemic to the United States, are known for diving underwater to catch fish. If they grab hold of a fish, they will hold it in their pouch and drain the sea water from their mouth before swallowing it whole.