Brown pelicans are dark and bulky. The sexes are similar in plumage and both are 4-4.5 ft (114-137 cm) long. The head is white with a pale yellow wash on the crown; the long bill is grayish; back, rump, and tail are streaked with gray and dark brown; the breast and belly are a blackish-brown; eyes pale yellow; and legs and feet are black. Immatures have brownish- grey necks and white underparts. All pelicans have bills that are as long or longer than their heads. The huge naked skin pouch suspended from the lower half of the hooked bill holds two or three times more than the bird's stomach-about 3 gallons of water and fish. Pelicans hold their catch and let the water drain from the corners of their mouths before they swallow. Fish are never carried in the pouch, but in the gullet or esophagus. The pouch, besides acting as a dip net, is also pulsated in extreme heat to allow cooling. Pelicaniformes are the only birds that share in common a totipalmate foot, that is, one in which all four toes, including the hind one, are united by a web of skin.
Range mass: 3000 to 4500 g.
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