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Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

Class: Aves
Family: Podicipedidae
Common Name: Pied-billed Grebe
Genus: Podilymbus
Species Name: podiceps

About The Pied-billed Grebe

A small (13 inches) grebe, the Pied-billed Grebe in summer is most easily identified by its gray-brown body, black chin, and conspicuous black bill stripe. In winter, this species loses its black facial adornments, becoming plain gray-brown overall. Male and female Pied-billed Grebes are similar to one another in all seasons. The Pied-billed Grebe breeds across much of the United States, southern Canada, and the northern half of Mexico. In winter, northerly-breeding Pied-billed Grebes abandon their breeding grounds and migrate south as far as southern Mexico and Central America; populations that breed further south are non-migratory. Other non-migratory populations exist in the West Indies, at isolated sites in Central America, and in South America south to central Argentina. Pied-billed Grebes breed on small lakes and ponds, preferring heavily vegetated areas for nest-building and more open areas for feeding. This species utilizes similar habitat types in winter as in summer. Pied-billed Grebes primarily eat small fish, insects, and crustaceans. In appropriate habitat, Pied-billed Grebes may be observed floating low in the water, periodically diving down to capture prey. Many birdwatchers learn to appreciate the Pied-billed Grebe’s ability to quickly sink into the water with minimal surface disturbance when, after returning their attention to the water after a momentary distraction, they discover the bird has “vanished” without a trace. Pied-billed Grebes are primarily active during the day, but migrating birds fly mainly at night.

Rights Holder: Unknown
Bibliographic Citation: Rumelt, Reid B. Podilymbus podiceps. June-July 2012. Brief natural history summary of Podilymbus podiceps. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Trips Where Observed

Antarctica and Argentina
Chile 2020
Dominican Republic
Mexico, Baja California Sur
Moving the Car
San Francisco 2007

Member Lifelists

North America
San Francisco
South America
United States

Sites Where Observed

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
North Lake Merced, just off a pier on the southwestern shore.
Seen in a pond just south of Ixtipan de Sol.


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