Pelecanus occidentalis

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Scientific Name
Pelecanus occidentalis
Common Name
Brown Pelican
Taxa Group
Move Mode

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Data package
    Data from: Condition-dependent foraging strategies in a coastal seabird: evidence for the rich get richer hypothesis
    (2018-12-31) Geary, Brock; Walter, Scott T.; Leberg, Paul L.; Karubian, Jordan
    The degree to which foraging individuals are able to appropriately modify their behaviors in response to dynamic environmental conditions and associated resource availability can have important fitness consequences. Despite an increasingly refined understanding of differences in foraging behavior between individuals, we still lack detailed characterizations of within-individual variation over space and time, and what factors may drive this variability. From 2014 to 2017, we used GPS transmitters and accelerometers to document foraging movements by breeding adult Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where the prey landscape is patchy and dynamic at various scales. Assessments of traditional foraging metrics such as trip distance, linearity, or duration did not yield significant relationships between individuals. However, we did observe lower site fidelity and less variation in energy expenditure in birds of higher body condition, despite a population-level trend of increased fidelity as the breeding season progressed. These findings suggest that high-quality individuals are both more variable and more efficient in their foraging behaviors during a period of high energetic demand, consistent with a “rich get richer” scenario in which individuals in better condition are able to invest in more costly behaviors that provide higher returns. This work highlights the importance of considering behavioral variation at multiple scales, with particular reference to within-individual variation, to improve our understanding of foraging ecology in wild populations.
  • Data package
    Data from: Influence of density-dependent competition on foraging and migratory behavior of a subtropical colonial seabird
    (2017-07-26) Lamb, Juliet S.; Satgé, Yvan G.; Jodice, Patrick G.R.
    Density-dependent competition for food resources influences both foraging ecology and reproduction in a variety of animals. The relationship between colony size, local prey depletion, and reproductive output in colonial central-place foragers has been extensively studied in seabirds; however, most studies have focused on effects of in- traspecific competition during the breeding season, while little is known about whether density-dependent resource depletion influences individual migratory behavior out- side the breeding season. Using breeding colony size as a surrogate for intraspecific resource competition, we tested for effects of colony size on breeding home range, nestling health, and migratory patterns of a nearshore colonial seabird, the brown peli- can (Pelecanus occidentalis), originating from seven breeding colonies of varying sizes in the subtropical northern Gulf of Mexico. We found evidence for density-dependent effects on foraging behavior during the breeding season, as individual foraging areas increased linearly with the number of breeding pairs per colony. Contrary to our pre- dictions, however, nestlings from more numerous colonies with larger foraging ranges did not experience either decreased condition or increased stress. During nonbreed- ing, individuals from larger colonies were more likely to migrate, and traveled longer distances, than individuals from smaller colonies, indicating that the influence of density-dependent effects on distribution persists into the nonbreeding period. We also found significant effects of individual physical condition, particularly body size, on migratory behavior, which in combination with colony size suggesting that dominant individuals remain closer to breeding sites during winter. We conclude that density- dependent competition may be an important driver of both the extent of foraging ranges and the degree of migration exhibited by brown pelicans. However, the effects of density-dependent competition on breeding success and population regulation remain uncertain in this system.