Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2019-03

Common name:

Brown Pelican

Scientific name: Pelecanus occidentalis
Date: 22 November 2016
Time: 16:45
Length of time observed: 10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Utah
County: Grand
Latilong: 38.6074095,-109.5415878
Elevation: 3,976 feet
Distance to bird: Landed ~200 yards from me, then ~100 yards when it flew past me.
Optical equipment: 8x42 Nikon bins
Weather: Clear sky after rainy day. Low 40sF
Light Conditions: Sky bright, sighting location shaded from river canyon wall.
Description:        Size of bird: Large, similar to Great Blue Heron.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Heavy bodied, short legged, long necked.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Grayish brown body, off-white neck, yellowish crown.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Gray, as long as neck.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Standing on shore, short legs, stout, grayish brown body. Long necked with long bill held down close along white neck. Distinct yellowish crown.
Swimming, large body, upright neck with bill held close.
Flying, large bodied, no trailing legs, immense wings, head drawn back with long bill straight forward. Slow deep wingbeats. Flight low over river, tips of wings sometimes grazing surface of water.
Song or call & method of delivery: Silent.
Behavior: First seen flying low over water close behind Great Blue Heron. Both then landed on cobble beach. Pelican then swam out to mid-river and from there took flight upstream.
Habitat: Colorado River canyon. Cobble beach, brushy bank, open quiet water.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
White Pelican larger and distinctly different color.
Great Blue Heron smaller bodied, longer legged, smaller billed, and different color.
Great Blue Heron flies with long trailing legs.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have observed Brown Pelicans in CA and TX, White Pelicans in CA,TX, and UT.
References consulted: Nat Geo Field Guide to Birds of NA
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Steve Heinrich
Observer's address: HC64 Box 2913 Castle Valley UT 84532-9613
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None.
Date prepared: 24 February 2019
Additional material:  
Additional comments: