Photo of a Brown Pelican Preening

See our Guide to Photographing Pelicans in La Jolla.

This is California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus). It is seen here preening, pulling preen oil from its uropygial gland onto its beak, which it will spread onto its feathers to help keep them water resistant and clean.

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, 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.
Image ID: 19946
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA