A California brown pelican preening, rubbing the back of its head and neck on 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. Adult winter non-breeding plumage showing white hindneck and red gular throat pouch (but transitioning to brown hind neck).
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California
Image ID: 37627