Eastern Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)

eastern brown pelican

The eastern brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) is the only species of pelican found in South Carolina.

The eastern brown pelican, once listed in South Carolina as an endangered species, is commonly seen flying in flock over the ocean, beaches, and estuaries (where rivers meet the sea). This large marine bird feeds exclusively on fish, and has a unique feeding behavior. It plunge-dives into the water, and while submerged, it uses its expandable throat pouch to take in both water and fish. As the pelican resurfaces, it drains the water from its pouch and then tilts its head upward to swallow the catch.