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One of the most iconic creatures that inhabit the Sea of Cortez, are the ever-abundant pelicans. Pelicans are large water birds with long, curved bills and elastic throat pouches that they use to catch fish. They are frequently found in coastal areas and are a common sight in the Sea of Cortez. There are two species of pelicans that are found in this region: the brown pelican and the American white pelican.
The brown pelican is the smaller of the two species and is distinguished by its brownish-gray plumage and a distinctive white head and neck. This bird is known for its remarkable fishing abilities, as it can plunge dive from up to 60 feet in the air to catch fish. The American white pelican, on the other hand, is larger and has a striking white plumage with black-tipped wings. Unlike the brown pelican, the American white pelican does not dive for fish. Instead, it uses its large wingspan to corral fish into shallow waters where it can scoop them up in its bill.
Pelicans play an important role in the ecosystem of the Sea of Cortez. They are top predators and help to control the population of smaller fish, which in turn helps to maintain a healthy balance of species in the region. Pelicans are an important part of the cultural and ecological heritage of the area, and they are a beloved symbol of the region's unique natural beauty.
For boaters, or anyone who has spent much time close to where flocks of pelicans hang-out, you know them by their smell. Pelican droppings are barely processed, rotted fish. Not pleasant. However, as a bird species, they can be quite entertaining to watch, and even friendly with humans that they recognize and get to know over time.