The body of the brown pelican is protected from impact during plunge-diving thanks to subcutaneous air-sacs.

References

"Several species of pelicans, boobies, and gannets have extensive subcutaneous air sacs.6,18 In the plunge-diving brown pelicans these air sacs are thought to serve as shock absorbers to decrease the impact of hitting water from great heights.6" (Fowler and Miller 2003:118)

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Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine

Organism
Brown PelicanPelecanus occidentalisSpecies