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Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis


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Eared Grebe, breeding
credit: Marek Szczepanek/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Podicipedidae, Grebes view all from this family

Description ADULT In summer has blackish head, neck, and back; face is adorned with golden yellow tufts. Flanks are chestnut. In winter, has mainly blackish upperparts and white underparts; separable from similar Horned Grebe by greater extent of dark coloration on cheeks, as well as head shape. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but white elements of plumage are buffy.

Dimensions Length: 12-14" (30-36 cm)

Habitat Common. Favors shallow, well-vegetated inland lakes and ponds in breeding season. In winter, moves south to freshwater and brackish lakes and sheltered coasts.

Observation Tips Breeding birds have stunning plumage and are an impressive sight: easiest to find in spring when displaying. Winter concentrations are mainly in west, but can be found on Gulf coast.

Range New England, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Texas, Eastern Canada, Florida, Southwest, Northwest, California, Plains, Western Canada

Voice Calls include various whistles and squeaks.

Discussion Distinguished from Horned Grebe by slightly upturned bill and steeper forehead. All birds have beady red eyes. In flight, note white patch on trailing edge of wing. Dives for aquatic invertebrates. Sexes are similar.