The Brown Pelican is the smallest of seven species of the pelican family. It lives strictly on the Atlantic coast from Washington and Virginia to the mouth of the Amazon River. Some immature birds may stray to inland freshwater lakes. After nesting, North American birds move in flocks further north along the coasts, returning to warmer waters for winter.
The Brown Pelican is distinguished from the American White Pelican by its brown body and its habit of diving for fish from the air, as opposed to co-operative fishing from the surface. Groups of Brown Pelicans often travel in single file, flying low over the water's surface as in a squadron.
The nest location of Brown Pelicans varies from a simple scrape on the ground on an island to a bulky stick nest in a low tree. The Pelican nests in colonies, usually on islands.