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

To learn more about pelican plunge-diving and how they manage impact, check out this video from KQED Deep Look.

Video content © 2017 KQED INC. All Rights Reserved.

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)

Book
Zoo and Wild Animal MedicineJanuary 1, 2003
Miller RE; Fowler M

Living System/s

Organism
Brown PelicanPelecanus occidentalisSpecies