Podiceps nigricollis
(Eared Grebe)

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

Physical Description:
Size: 12-14" (30-38 cm). This small grebe has a distinctly crested head with golden "ears" during the breeding season. Thin black neck. Body dark, sometimes with rufousClick word for definition coloring on the sides. Sexes similar. In winter, dark neck and ear region contrasting with whiter face. Body dusky above, white below.

Similar Species- Horned Grebes have chestnut necks and flanks, lack crested head. Ear tufts more pronounced on Horned Grebe. In winter, these two species very similar. Eared grebe has slender neck, ill defined cap, and slightly upturned bill.

A loud ker-yeep! on the breeding range.

Breeds in southwestern Canada, east to Manitoba, and south through parts of western and midwestern U.S. to central Mexico. Winters mainly coastally, from Bitish Columbia to Guatemala, but also winters inland from northern Nevada and Utah south to Guatemala.

During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, found on salt lakes, bays, estuaries, and seacoasts. Some individuals migrate to coast in fall; some remain inland during winter, in loose flocks on large bodies of fresh water. When breeding, found on marshes, ponds, and lakes.

Diet includes aquatic insects and larvae, small fishes, crustaceans, and other small invertebrates

Feeds on or under surface of water. Escapes by diving. Migrates at night. Builds platform nest on shallow water. Usually nests in colonies on larger lakes (100 pairs on 1 lake is not unusuall). In Idaho, dense colonies of 10-30 pairs have been reported, and in 1993, 266-346 nests were estimated to exist. GregariousClick word for definition at all times of year. Several hundred thousand may congregate in late summer and fall at Mono Lake, California.

Breeding begins in mid-April in southern range, and in late May or June in north. both adults, in turn, incubateClick word for definition an average of 3-4 eggs from 20-22 days (southeastern Idaho study reported 2.6 eggs/nest on 11 nests). Young are reportedly independent in 3 wk.

Element Code: ABNCA03030
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Trost, C.H. 1994. The status and distribution of colonial water birds in northern Idaho and selected species in southern Idaho, 1994. Dept. Biol. Sciences, Idaho St. Univ., Pocatello. 31pp.

Photo by C. Trost, ©1999.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.