Photo of a Brown Pelican Preening

Here is a California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) preening. Using it’s long bill, the pelican spreads preen oil from its uropygial gland (near its tail) and spreads it over its wings and head. The preen oil helps to keep the feathers clean and dry. Check out the bird’s coloration, it is at the height of it’s breeding plumage with a bright red throat and chestnut brown hind neck.

See our Guide to Photographing Pelicans in La Jolla.

A brown pelican preening, reaching with its beak to the uropygial gland (preen gland) near the base of its tail.  Preen oil from the uropygial gland is spread by the pelican's beak and back of its head to all other feathers on the pelican, helping to keep them water resistant and dry.  Note adult winter breeding plumage in display, with brown neck, red gular throat pouch and yellow and white head, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

A brown pelican preening, reaching with its beak to the uropygial gland (preen gland) near the base of its tail. Preen oil from the uropygial gland is spread by the pelican’s beak and back of its head to all other feathers on the pelican, helping to keep them water resistant and dry. Note adult winter breeding plumage in display, with brown neck, red gular throat pouch and yellow and white head.
Image ID: 20295
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA