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California Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Question: How do Pelicans keep their feathers healthy and waterproof?
Answer: By cleaning and distributing oil from their uropygial gland to their feathers in a behavior known as preening.

The uropygial gland is located on their dorsum (back) above the tail; pelicans contort their necks as they reach for the gland with their beaks; the oil is then transferred from the gland to the beak and subsequently distributed to all the feathers via a relentless ritual of rubbing, biting, and stroking their feathers. The oil maintains the health and water resistance of the feathers.

brown pelicanpelecanus occidentalispreeningla jollacaliforniabirdwildlife

From Brown Pelicans of La Jolla California - January 2016