All Pelicans in California with Pictures

To provide you with the most accurate information, we’ve compiled pictures and critical data on California’s most frequently encountered pelicans. We obtained this data exclusively from reliable sources and had it verified by an Ornithologist to ensure its accuracy.

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

(Pelecanus occidentalis) is one of the most recognizable large birds in California. It has a long bill with a throat pouch, very short legs and webbed feet, white neck and pale yellow head, and brown body. The adult Brown Pelican can grow up to 4 feet in length with a wingspan of almost 8 feet, making it one of the largest bird species in North America.

California Brown Pelicans are usually found near coasts and estuaries, though they occasionally wander into rivers and lakes. They typically feed in shallow waters, using their large bill to scoop up fish or chasing them down with quick dives from above. In addition to fish, Brown Pelicans also eat crustaceans, amphibians, and other small aquatic creatures.

These birds have a number of unique behaviors that make them stand out from other species. For example, during the breeding season, male California Brown Pelican will perform elaborate courtship rituals in an effort to attract mates. They are also known for their cooperative fishing techniques where groups of two or more birds will work together to herd and capture fish.

Brown Pelicans are a protected species in California, and their numbers have slowly been increasing over the past few decades thanks to conservation efforts. In the future, it is hoped that the Brown Pelican’s population will continue to grow and thrive in its natural environment.

Brown Pelican range map

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is a large bird found mainly in North America, with smaller populations in Central and South America. It has white plumage, black flight feathers, and an orange bill with a pouch for catching fish. The pelican’s wingspan can range from 6-8 feet.

These birds are primarily found near large bodies of water such as bays, lakes, and coastal marshes. They feed almost exclusively on fish, usually by swooping down from height to catch them with their bill pouches. They also sometimes feed cooperatively with other pelican species in a “raft” formation which helps them to be more successful.

Pelicans are usually seen in large flocks and can often be heard making loud honking noises. They tend to be relatively calm birds, but they can become aggressive when defending nesting areas or feeding territories. They also have the ability to fly very long distances and can sometimes travel up to 800 miles in one day.

The American White Pelican is a beautiful and majestic bird well known for its large size and distinctive features. Its range continues to grow as it is increasingly seen in areas further away from its traditional habitats due to climate change. It is also an important part of many North American ecosystems, helping to keep fish populations in check and providing an important food source for other animals.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 endangered species, including pelicans. This act protects the birds from hunting, disturbance of nesting areas, and destruction of eggs and nests. With this protection in place, the population of these majestic birds has been increasing throughout California and across North America.

American White Pelican range map

Are there white pelicans in California?

Yes, white pelicans can be found in California. They are most commonly seen along the coast and on lakes and rivers throughout the state. The American White Pelican is a huge bird with a wingspan of up to 11 feet, and they can often be spotted flying in large groups or wading in shallow water while they search for fish.

They typically breed and nest in colonies along the California coast, and their diet consists of mostly catch fish, small crustaceans, and insects. As with other types of pelicans, they can be seen gathering food cooperatively as a group. White Pelicans are an important part of California’s wildlife, and seeing them can be an amazing experience for any nature lover.

Where can I see pelicans in California?

Pelicans are a common sight along the California coastline. The best places to see them are on National Wildlife Refuges such as Morro Bay National Wildlife Refuge in San Luis Obispo County, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Monterey County, and Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Imperial County.

They can also be seen along most of the major coastal towns and cities, including San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, and more. Pelican watching is at its peak during the winter months when thousands of these birds migrate to the warmer waters of California’s coast.

Why are there so many pelicans in California?

Pelicans are a common sight in California, especially along the coasts. This is because they find plenty of food to eat in the state’s waters and beaches. Additionally, coastal areas provide them with relatively sheltered habitats, as well as an abundance of nesting material such as driftwood, shell fragments and seaweed for their nests. The mild climate of California also helps to attract these large waterbirds, as they are able to find food and establish nests year-round.

Furthermore, the mild winter climate allows for a great deal of stability for pelicans in the region, allowing them to remain in one location rather than being forced to migrate away when temperatures become too cold. In summary, the abundance of food, nesting material, and shelter plus the warm climate make California an ideal place for pelicans to call home.

Do pelicans migrate in California?

Yes, pelicans migrate to California. The American White Pelican is a common sight along the Pacific Coast during the winter months and can be seen in wetlands, estuaries, and coastal locations throughout California. Some pelicans will also migrate inland to lakes and reservoirs throughout the state.

The Brown Pelican is often spotted offshore along the coast, but rarely ventures inland. During the summer months, most pelicans will migrate northward to breed in Alaska and Canada. In addition, some pelicans have also been found wintering along the Gulf Coast of Mexico and Central America.