Many years ago, I asked a now retired Game Warden (Steve Kennedy) if there were different species of pelicans. His response was “Yep – white ones and brown ones.” Of course, he was correct. There are only these two types of pelicans found in Texas – the American White Pelican and the Brown Pelican. There are eight species of pelicans found throughout the world. Both species found in Texas share some similarities, such as overall body shape, and large, pouched beaks. Pelicans have the largest bill of all birds. It can reach 18 inches in length. Underneath the bill, pelicans have a throat pouch that can hold three gallons of water. The pouch is mainly used for feeding, but it can be also used as a cooling device. Both are social birds that typically travel in flocks and breed in colonies.
The most obvious differences between these two species besides color are the size and method of hunting.