Casa de Campo Resort

Birds of Casa de Campo #2: The Brown Pelican

This post is also available in: Spanish

brown_pelicans2In our most recent edition of TODO Casa de Campo (magazine guide for the Casa de Campo resort), we brought you an “Everyday guide to bird-spotting in Casa”, a simple guide to enjoying the many different species found across the resort. In this series of posts “Birds of Casa de Campo” we’ll be bringing you more in-depth insights into all these incredible creatures.

Birds of Hispaniola

The island of Hispaniola, shared between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, has more than 300 different bird species, of which 32 are endemic, meaning that in the entire world, this is the only place they can be found. Incredibly, 8 of these endemic species can be spotted right here in Casa de Campo, as well as many more!

So lift your eyes to the sky, and let’s take a bird tour of Casa!

The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

You can spot Brown Pelicans in a number of spots in and around Casa de Campo. They are most abundant living in large groups in the mangroves of the Chavón river – which you can view on a boat trip from Minitas Beach (click here for details).  These flocks of Brown Pelicans can be seen perched in the trees, occasionally circling around before diving at great speeds into the water to snap up fish.

Brown Pelican seen in the mangroves of the Chavón river
brown pelican

Brown Pelicans can also be seen off the Casa de Campo coast – from Minitas Beach, as well as all along the Teeth of the Dog golf course, as well as at any one of the many local beauty spots you can visit on a boat trip out of the Marina Casa de Campo; Catalina Island, Palmilla and Saona Island for example.

Despite being the smallest species of Pelican, Brown Pelicans, have a wingspan of up to 8ft and are actually more grey in color, with white necks and heads, often with a pale yellow crown. Interestingly, while we imagine all pelicans dive into the water to feed, the Brown Pelican is actually only 1 of 2 species of pelicans who do this.

Key characteristics

  • brown pelicanPelicans are some of the larger birds, with long and bulky beaks, thick legs and a large wing-span.
  • All pelicans are well suited to swimming and to flight.
  • The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican; it is 106–137 cm (42–54 in) in length, weighs from 2.75 to 5.5 kg (6.1 to 12 lb) and has a wingspan from 1.83 to 2.5 m (6.0 to 8.2 ft)
  • The Brown Pelican lives on both coasts in the Americas, found from Canada to Venezuela.
  • They eat small silvery fish, especially sardines and anchovies.
  • These big birds make their nests on the ground or in trees, and lay between 2 to 4 white eggs.

Note: This bird is readily distinguished from the American White Pelican by its non-white plumage, smaller size and its habit of diving for fish from the air, as opposed to co-operative fishing from the surface.

This is the second article of our series “Birds of Casa de Campo”, in future articles you can look forward to reading about: American Kestrel, Village Weaver, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Hispaniolan Parakeet and much more.

Click here to read part 1: The Hispaniolan Parakeets of the Teeth of the Dog

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