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Eared Grebe

Silhouette GrebesGrebes
Eared GrebePodiceps nigricollis
  • ORDER: Podicipediformes
  • FAMILY: Podicipedidae

Basic Description

The most abundant grebe in the world, the Eared Grebe is a small waterbird with a very thin bill and a bright red eye. In the summer months, golden wisps fan out from their cheeks as they dance and run across the water courting. They breed in colonies in shallow wetlands in western North America and head by the hundreds and thousands to salty inland waters to feast on brine shrimp before heading farther south. In winter, they lose the golden wisps, turning gray and white.

More ID Info
image of range map for Eared Grebe
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Eared Grebes amass by the thousands at inland salty waters during migration. In the fall (late July through November) they head to either Mono Lake in California or the Great Salt Lake in Utah. In the spring (late January through early April) they tend to congregate at the Salton Sea and the Great Salt Lake, skipping Mono Lake. Here, spotting an Eared Grebe or a few hundred won't be a challenge, the challenge might be in separating them from Horned Grebes; look for the smudgy cheek patch on Eared Grebes and the clean line between the cap and the cheek on Horned Grebes.

Other Names

  • Zampullín Cuellinegro (Spanish)
  • Grèbe à cou noir (French)
  • Cool Facts