Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants,
Shorebirds, Sandpipers, Plovers and Stilts, Frigatebirds

The Brown Pelican is a very large, stocky bird with a dark brown body and a long flat bill. It is the only non-white pelican in the world. The brown pelican has a very long gray bill with a large pouch of skin. Its pouch holds two or three times more than its stomach can hold ó close to three gallons of fish and water! Males and females look the same. The brown pelican can be found on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts.

On the Atlantic Coast, it can be found from North Carolina south to Venezuela. On the Pacific Coast, its range stretches from Southern California to Chile. After nesting season, it can be found as far north as British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Although they are common in the coastal areas of Belize, the Brown Pelican is listed as an Endangered Species in the US.

The Double-crested Cormorant is a solidly built black bird with an orange throat pouch and long neck. This bird is an excellent diver and its long hooked bill is tilted upward when the bird swims. Double-crested Cormorant nests often are exposed to direct sun, and the dedicated parents shade the chicks and also bring them water, pouring it from their mouths into those of the chicks. The Double-crested Cormorant is the most numerous and widespread North American cormorant. Itís also the only one that occurs in large numbers inland as well as on the coast.

Shorebirds, which include Sandpipers, Plovers and Stilts, are tough to identify. Ambergris has the Black-necked Stilt, about six species of plovers and possibly twenty species of sandpipers. Most shorebirds are small, like a sparrow or a medium-sized robin, with slender bills for probing in the mud or sand, and slender legs for wading. Hundreds of different patterns on these birds make it almost impossible to identify them. Donít be discouraged, just try to answer, is it a sandpiper or plover? Plovers are generally smaller than sandpipers with shorter, thicker bills and have a behavior of run and stop, run and stop, looking for food in the wave action on the beach.

A long-winged, fork-tailed bird of tropical oceans, the Magnificent Frigatebird is an agile flier that snatches food off the surface of the ocean and steals food from other birds. It breeds mostly south of the United States, but wanders northward along the coasts during nonbreeding season. Also called man-oí-war-birds, they have the largest wingspread in proportion to weight of any bird. The male is entirely black with a red throat pouch. The black female is larger and has a white chest. Although the Magnificent Frigatebird spends most of its life flying over the ocean, it rarely, if ever lands on the water.

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