• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


Brown Pelican

(Pelecanus occidentalis)
brown pelican
Two immature and a non-breeding adult Brown Pelicans at Crissy marsh.
Will Elder, NPS

Natural History: The Brown Pelican's diet consists of fish which it often hunts by taking plunging dives from above the water. It prefers open marine coast lines. Nests are built in colonies on offshore rocks and islands that lack mammalian predators.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this species can be found over water in coastal areas.

Frequency: The Brown Pelican is common to abundant throughout the year.

Identifying Characteristics: This large, grayish-brown bird is characterized by its large grayish bill with throat pouch. It often flies in small groups low over the water.

Presidio Birds main page

Did You Know?

Refugee Camp at the Presidio

In the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, nearly 250,000 people were left homeless. The Army responded quickly, establishing refugee camps on the Presidio and organizing relief efforts.