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LA State Symbols

Last Updated: May 23rd, 2010 - 21:01:09


State Bird of Louisiana
Sep 7, 2006, 14:08 PST

Brown pelican Pelecanus occidentalis

Identification Tips:

  • Length: 41 inches Wingspan: 90 inches
  • Sexes similar
  • Huge, dark bird
  • Long bill with a pouch, dark on Atlantic/Gulf coasts; bill paler along Pacific coast, becomes yellow during breeding season
  • Flies with neck tucked
  • Plunges from great heights into water to catch fish

Adult alternate:

  • White foreneck and head with yellow crown
  • Chestnut neck and nape
  • Gray-brown body plumage with slightly darker flight feathers

Adult basic:

  • Yellowish crown
  • White head and neck
  • Gray-brown body plumage with slightly darker flight feathers


  • Dark brown overall, gradually acquiring adult plumage over three years

Similar species:


Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.
Source: USGS

Handheld Birds and Software at National Geographic

Learn more with the help of Google.

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