Podiceps grisegena
(Red-necked Grebe)

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

Physical Description:
Size: 18-22" (45-74 cm). This large grebe has a long, rufousClick word for definition neck with a white cheek and black cap on its head. Long bill, yellow at base. Body dark above and white below. Sexes similar. In winter, grayish with a white crescent-shaped strip on its neck. In flight, white speculumClick word for definition and leading wing edge.

Similar Species- Horned grebes are smaller, with slender black bills and golden ear tufts. Western and Clark's grebes are larger with white necks.

Generally silent. A sharp bark may be heard during breeding season.

Breeds in Alaska and western and south-central Canada, south to Washington, Montana, northeastern South Dakota, and Minnesota; rarely breeds elsewhere in northern United States. Winters coastally from Alaska to southern California, and also from Nova Scotia to central Florida (casually along Gulf Coast). In Idaho, breeds uncommonly on Panhandle and in south-central and southeastern Idaho.

Winters along seacoasts, bays, and estuaries. During migrationClick word for definition, found on lakes, ponds, and rivers. In Idaho, prefers large lakes with clear water.

Feeds on small fishes where available, but also eats aquatic and land insects, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic worms, tadpoles, salamander eggs, some vegetable matter, and feathers.

Nests on floating or half- submerged vegetation. Usually nests solitarily, but will sometimes form loose colonies. Breeding territory size varies in accordance with food supply and other ecological factors. Dives underwater and forages on or near bottom for food. Flees by diving rather than flying.

Peak egg-laying activity occurs in June in many areas. Male and female in turn incubateClick word for definition usually 3-5 eggs for 22-27 days. Both parents tend young, which probably become independent at 8-10 wk.

Element Code: ABNCA03020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Taylor, D.M. and C.H. Trost. 1987. The status of rare birds in Idaho. Murrelet 68:69-93.

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