California Brown Pelican Portraits and Head Throws, 2021/2022

By January 21, 2022January 30th, 2022Pelicans

I usually photograph California brown pelicans in La Jolla from late December through February. I spent many mornings photographing them already this season, and am mainly interested in flight images.  But it is hard to resist a beautiful portrait or head throw when a pelican decides to oblige, especially when the pelican is displaying nice breeding plumage.  Here are some of my favorite portraits and head throw images of the last several weeks. I’ll post more when I am done in February.  Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Brown pelican preening, cleaning its feathers after foraging on the ocean, with distinctive winter breeding plumage with distinctive dark brown nape, yellow head feathers, although this one displays a yellow (rather than the usual red) gular throat pouch, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican preening, cleaning its feathers after foraging on the ocean, with distinctive winter breeding plumage with distinctive dark brown nape, yellow head feathers, although this one displays a yellow (rather than the usual red) gular throat pouch.
Image ID: 36683
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown Pelican Portrait, note the distinctive winter mating plumage with chestnut brown hind neck and bright red throat, La Jolla, California, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown Pelican Portrait, note the distinctive winter mating plumage with chestnut brown hind neck and bright red throat, La Jolla, California.
Image ID: 37430
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown Pelican Portrait, note the distinctive winter mating plumage with chestnut brown hind neck and bright red throat, La Jolla, California, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown Pelican Portrait, note the distinctive winter mating plumage with chestnut brown hind neck and bright red throat, La Jolla, California.
Image ID: 37435
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

Two California Brown Pelicans performing a perfectly synchronous simultaneous head throw. Both display classic winter breeding plumage. Set against the Pacific Ocean, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Two California Brown Pelicans performing a perfectly synchronous simultaneous head throw. Both display classic winter breeding plumage. Set against the Pacific Ocean.
Image ID: 37564
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Brown pelicans jousting, with bright red throat, yellow and white head and brown hind neck, winter plumage, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelicans jousting, with bright red throat, yellow and white head and brown hind neck, winter plumage.
Image ID: 37606
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Portrait of two California brown pelicans with breeding plumage, note the striking red throat, yellow and white head, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Portrait of two California brown pelicans with breeding plumage, note the striking red throat, yellow and white head.
Image ID: 37607
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown pelican performing a head throw, with breeding plumage including distinctive yellow and white head feathers, red gular throat pouch, brown hind neck and greyish body, La Jolla

California Brown pelican performing a head throw, with breeding plumage including distinctive yellow and white head feathers, red gular throat pouch, brown hind neck and greyish body.
Image ID: 37635
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Contemplative brown pelican portrait on overcast day, with surf and foam in the background. Breeding plumage with yellow and white head, red throat, brown neck

Contemplative brown pelican portrait on overcast day, with surf and foam in the background. Breeding plumage with yellow and white head, red throat, brown neck.
Image ID: 37638

Brown pelican portrait, displaying winter plumage with distinctive yellow head feathers and colorful gular throat pouch, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican portrait, displaying winter plumage with distinctive yellow head feathers and colorful gular throat pouch.
Image ID: 36702
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Brown pelican close up portrait, showing eye and transition from plumage to beak, with winter yellow and white head feathers, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican close up portrait, showing eye and transition from plumage to beak, with winter yellow and white head feathers.
Image ID: 36851
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

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, 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: 37693
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown Pelican head throw, stretching its throat to keep it flexible and healthy, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown Pelican head throw, stretching its throat to keep it flexible and healthy.
Image ID: 37440
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

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, La Jolla

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.
Image ID: 37684
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Yoga Pelican performing Warrior Three Pose Virabhadrasana, La Jolla, California

Yoga Pelican performing Warrior Three Pose Virabhadrasana.
Image ID: 37690
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown Pelican head throw, stretching its throat to keep it flexible and healthy, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California Brown Pelican head throw, stretching its throat to keep it flexible and healthy.
Image ID: 36678
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Two California brown pelicans mock jousting, displaying vividly-colored throat skin and mating plumage, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Two California brown pelicans mock jousting, displaying vividly-colored throat skin and mating plumage.
Image ID: 36703
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA