Although it is considered the smallest member of the pelican family (Terres 1980), P. occidentalis is a large marine bird often measuring over 1 m in length (Harrison 1996) with a wingspan of nearly 2.3 meters (Farrand 1983) and a total weight of about 8 pounds (3.6 kg). (Terres 1980). Males average a slightly larger body size than females (Terres 1980). Lifespan varies with environmental conditions, food availability and other factors. Some banded individuals have been documented to exceed 31 years of age (Terres 1980).
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