It depends on the type of pelican and their location because they have different hunting tactics and can live in different habitats. However in general they eat just about fish they can catch. The brown pelican will eat fish like smelt, sardines and anchovies. The white pelican has also been known to eat trout.
Pelicans eat “rough” fish, like carp, shiners, minnow, and mullet. The San Diego Zoo addresses the fact that pelicans don’t really compete with fisherman like many people believe because the two aren’t going after the same fish.
Pelicans scoop up fish with their pouches, tip their heads forward to drain the water, and swallow the fish whole right away. Pelican babies eat the regurgitated food from its parent’s mouth.
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