Podiceps auritus
(Horned Grebe)

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

Physical Description:
Size: 12-15" (30-40 cm). Sexes similar. During breeding season, rusty neck and lower-parts. Distinctive golden ear tufts. Dark head and back. Bill slender and dark. In flight, leading edge of wing white, white speculumClick word for definition. In winter, black "cap" on head with white neck.

Similar Species- Eared Grebe has black neck and crested head, no white on leading edge of wing. Red-necked Grebe is larger with white cheek and long bill with yellow base.

High squeals or a sharp ka-raa during breeding season. Generally silent.

Breeds in central and southern Alaska and Canada, south to Idaho, northern South Dakota, northern Iowa, and central Wisconsin. Winters mainly coastally south to California, Texas, and Florida. May breed rarely in southeastern Idaho.

When breeding, found on marshes, ponds, and lakes, and occasionally along sluggish streams. When not breeding, occupies bays, estuaries, and seacoasts.

Usually eats small fishes, crustacians, and aquatic insects, but will also consume amphibians and leeches.

Usually nests among tall vegetation in shallow water. Predation may result in high nest losses. Size of breeding territory reflects location and abundance of food supply. Forages by diving in shallow water, often near emergent vegetation, but will also pick food from water surface or from vegetation. Usually not gregariousClick word for definition, except at staging and resting areas prior to and during migrationClick word for definition.

In southern Canada, female lays eggs mid-May to mid-July. Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 4-6 eggs for 22-25 days. Young are tended by one or both parents; most young fledgeClick word for definition by 6-7 wk. Female renests if nest is destroyed.

Element Code: ABNCA03010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.