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White Pelican

The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is a large aquatic soaring bird. The bill is huge and flat on the top, with a large throat sac below, and, in the breeding season, is vivid orange in color as is the bare skin around the eye, and the feet. In the breeding season, there is a flattened "horn" on the upper bill, located about one-third the bill's length behind the tip. This is the only one of the eight species of pelican to have a bill "horn". The horn is shed after the birds have mated and laid their eggs. Outside the breeding season the bare parts become duller in color, with the naked facial skin yellow and the bill, pouch, and feet an orangy-flesh color. Unlike the brown pelican (P. occidentalis), the American white pelican does not dive for its food. Instead it catches its prey while swimming. Each bird eats more than 4 pounds of food a day.

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