Louisiana State Bird

What Is the State Bird of Louisiana?

Louisiana is located in the deep south of the United States and wanted to have a bird reflective of its values and its history. It adopted the Brown pelican as the state bird in the middle of the 20th century. This is one of the most common birds spotted throughout the southern United States, and it can be found as far south as Brazil. Louisiana is also the only state in the country to have chosen the Brown pelican, making it a way for the state to separate itself from its peers.

Why Did Louisiana Choose the Brown Pelican?

The people in Louisiana wanted a bird that was reflective of its values, and they settled on the Brown pelican as the state bird because of the loving way it takes care of its young children. After having babies, both parents stick around to raise the young. They split the parenting duties among themselves, and allow the baby birds to start leaving the nest to socialize at around five weeks of age. Then, as the birds get older, the family continues to eat together and spend time with one another. Then, once the babies are old enough to support themselves on their own, they leave the nest, and the cycle continues. This type of togetherness is important in Louisiana, and it made the bird a natural choice to be the state bird of Louisiana.

When Did Louisiana Adopt the Brown Pelican as the State Bird?

When compared to other states, Louisiana made its selection relatively late. The legislature adopted the Brown pelican as its state bird in 1966, and it is the only state to have chosen the Brown pelican.

What Are the Characteristics of the Brown Pelican?

The Brown pelican is very easy to spot in Louisiana because of its size and appearance. The birds usually have a gray and brown appearance with yellow heads and white necks. This unique color pattern makes the bird stand out from the crowd. They tend to fly and float around the waterways of Louisiana, so they are a common sight on the bayou.

When it is time for these birds to breed, the feathers on their backs change color. The back and neck feathers adopt a red appearance, which is different from the gray and brown feathers the birds have when they are younger.

The Brown pelican is also a very large bird when compared to some of the other state birds that states have chosen. They typically weigh about 7 pounds, and they can grow to be 54 inches long. Their wingspan can also be six to seven feet in size. While many states have chosen a smaller bird, the Brown pelican is actually one of the smaller pelican species.

While the Brown pelican is closely associated with the southern United States, they can be found not only on the Gulf coast but also on the Atlantic coast as well as the Pacific.

Louisiana state bird
Brown pelican
Scientific Name
Pelecanus occidentalis
Year Became Official

Louisiana State Bird