Aechmophorus clarkii
(Clark's Grebe)


Order: Podicipediformes
Order Description: Grebes
Family: Podicipedidae
Family Description: Grebes

Physical Description:
Size: 25" (63 cm). This is a large dark-gray and white grebe. Formerly considered to be a pale morph of the Western Grebe. It has a long, slender neck that is white on the front and black on the back. Note that its black cap does not extend below the eye. Bill orange-yellow. Sexes similar.

Similar Species- The Clark's Grebe and Western Grebe were formerly considered to be the same species. The distinguishing morphological difference between them is that the cap on the Western Grebe extends past the eye. The bill of the Western Grebe is yellow.

Song:
A one-note creek!

Distribution:
Breeds from southeastern Alaska, east to southwestern Manitoba, and south into portions of western and midwestern U.S.; also breeds in Mexico. Winters from southern British Columbia, south along Pacific Coast (sometimes inland) to Mexico.

Habitat:
Found on marshes, lakes, and bays. During migration and in winter, also found along sheltered seacoasts, and, less frequently, along rivers. Usually forages in deeper water than Western Grebe.

Diet:
Eats fishes and aquatic invertebrates.

Ecology:
Builds platform nest on shallow water. Nests colonially, often mixed with Western Grebes. Dives from water surface to obtain food. Species is rare in northern range, but as common as Western Grebe in south. Often seen in association with Western Grebes, but species is less common than the latter in Idaho. Ecology and reproduction are similar to, but not as well understood as, Western Grebe.

Reproduction:
Female lays 1 clutchClick word for definition of 3-4 eggs. Incubation (by both sexes) lasts about 23 days. Young leave nest at hatching, and are tended by both parents.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNCA04020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Trost, C.H. and A. Gerstell. 1994. Status and distribution of colonial nesting waterbirds in southern Idaho, 1993. Dept. Biol. Sciences, Idaho St. Univ., Pocatello. 101pp.


Photos by C. Trost and Peter S. Weber,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.