Galapagos Brown Pelicans


Brown pelicans were frequent visitors to the Celebrity Xpedition during Kongo’s visit to the Galapagos Islands last week.  The amazing birds are graceful in flight and have an uncanny ability to skim just inches above the waves while searching for food. The have keen eyes and always turn up when there are fish around.

_MG_2868 _MG_2660 The photo of this brown pelican (above) was taken after it landed next to the ship and began feasting on a giant ball of small sardines.  If you look carefully you can actually see the sardines inside its mouth._MG_2307 _MG_2212


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In the little town of Puerto Ayora the brown pelicans are almost like pets at the local fish market.  In the three images above pelicans wait patiently for scraps of fish from the morning catch then get into a mad scramble with a seal over who was gong to get the best pieces.  In this case the seal won.


This was more of a traditional feeding frenzy where blue footed boobies and pelicans repeatedly dove into the sardine ball for their morning meal.  Note the pelican at the bottom of the image above and how full its mouth is.  Some pelicans became so full of sardines that they couldn’t take off afterward and just sat around floating until they digested the fish and could get airborne.

Travel safe.  Have fun.

A pelican on wing in the Galapagos

15 thoughts on “Galapagos Brown Pelicans

      1. Maybe I should send my posts to you for proofing before posting. Those senior moments sneak up on you and pounce without warning! 🙂

  1. Fantastic! I especially love the pictures of the pelican with sardines in its mouth, and the market with the pelicans and seal waiting for a snack. And the first one – gorgeous! Did you “paint” it in Photoshop for that effect? Or were you incredibly lucky and it came out that way?

    1. Pam, glad you like the photos. I do very little post processing and frankly I don’t know how to paint in Photoshop. I just use Adobe Elements when I want to do a pano or HDR. Otherwise i use lightroom. This was a very bright morning light coming in at a low angle in front of the pelican. It was sort of like shooting into the sun but not quite but the water was all splotchy in the light and the sun lit up the bird’s wings. i got several images like that before the light changed. I kept the camera low to avoid blowing out the image.

      1. Outstanding! As they say in photography, light is everything. I have one entire book called “Chasing the Light”. Have a good trip on the East coast.