June 3, 2017 – Titicaca Grebe, Titicaca Flightless Grebe, or Short-winged Grebe (Rollandia microptera)

Found on freshwater lakes in southeastern Peru and western Bolivia, including Lake Titicaca, Poopó, and Uru-uru, these grebes cannot fly. The majority of their diet is fish, particularly pupfish species. Nesting solitarily or in loose colonies, they may lay eggs in any month, though November to December seems to be the peak of their nesting season. They are classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to a variety of threats, including gill-nets, chemical contamination, introduced fish species, hunting, threats to their breeding habitats, and disturbance by boats. Their current population is estimated at around 2,000 birds.


January 30, 2017 – Red-necked Grebe, Holboell’s Grebe, or Gray-cheeked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)

Found in western and central Canada and parts of the northern United States, these grebes breed on inland bodies of water and winter on the open ocean or large lakes. They eat fish, crustaceans, aquatic insects, mollusks, and amphibians, diving under the water and capturing prey in their bills. Pairs perform complex courtship displays, swimming upright together and presenting green weeds to each other. Their nests are built on floating vegetation from plant materials. The chicks spend most of their time on a parent’s back for the first week or two of their lives.


September 16, 2016 – White-tufted Grebe or Rolland’s Grebe (Rollandia rolland)

These small grebes are found in western and southern South America. A subspecies found in the Falkland Islands is heavier and does not fly as well. They don’t dive as often as other grebes and tend to catch their fish and arthropod prey mostly near the surface of the water. Breeding around smaller inland bodies of water, like shallow ponds, temporary pools, and slow streams, they build floating nests in vegetation.


July 10, 2016 – Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

These large grebes are found in much of western North America, including parts of Mexico. They eat mainly fish, diving in open water to catch or spear them and often returning to the surface to eat larger prey. They also eat some crustaceans and polychaete worms. Their impressive courtship displays include “rushing” where pairs appear to run across the water side by side with their necks curved. Often nesting in colonies of up to a few thousand birds on one lake, both the males and females build the nests. The nests are solid mounds with a shallow depression, often built on floating vegetation, but sometimes on land. Though the IUCN lists them as a species of Least Concern, their population is probably declining, as they are sensitive to poor water quality, entanglement in fishing lines and gill nets, nesting disturbances, and oil spills in their winter range.

December 11, 2015 – Little Grebe or Dabchick (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

These small grebes are found in much of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They feed on small fish and aquatic invertebrates. With feet located toward the back of their bodies, they are excellent swimmers and divers, but have some difficulty moving on land. Their nests are built floating on the surface of the water, anchored to submerged plants. Chicks often ride on the adults’ backs and are fed feathers, which form a protective lining in the young birds’ stomachs. They are the smallest members of the Grebe family.

April 7, 2015 – Australasian Grebe, Australian Grebe, Eastern Little Grebe, Australian Little Grebe, or Australasian Little Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

Requested by: taylorrbranham

These small diving birds are found throughout Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Living around fresh water, they feed on small fish, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, and plants. Unlike most swimming birds, the Australasian Grebe has the ability to control its own buoyancy by adjusting the angle of its waterproof feathers. This allows the grebe to sink like a submarine with only its head remaining above the water and to swim higher or lower at the surface. They are territorial and often live in solitary breeding pairs, or small groups. Like other grebes, they eat their own feathers, which helps protect their digestive system from the sharp fish bones they swallow.

January 21, 2015 – Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)

Horned Grebes spend the summer breeding season in Canada, migrating through the northern United States to winter in the southeastern U.S. and the coast of California. They feed mainly on aquatic insects, fish, and other aquatic animals. During the breeding season, they are found in shallow freshwater areas, moving to larger bodies of water in the winter. Like many Grebe species, the young chicks often ride on the backs of their parents when in the water. Horned Grebes often eat their own feathers. It is believed that once in the stomach the feathers may act as a filter, or coat fish bones, preventing them from hurting the birds.