Western Grebe

Aechmophorus occidentalis

Order

PODICIPEDIFORMES

Family

Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Code 4

WEGR

Code 6

AECOCC

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Western Grebe is the largest North American member of the grebe family. Other names for this species include “swan grebe”, “dabchick” and “swan-necked grebe”. This species has been known to interbreed with the Clark’s Grebe, which looks much like and shares the same habitat as the Western Grebe. Nests are built on large inland lakes and coastal marshes of western North America. During winter months, northern populations will migrate to the western coastal ocean areas. Typical diets of this bird consist of carp, herring, mollusks, crabs and salamanders. The conservation rating for the Western Grebe is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Western Grebe: Large, long-necked grebe with dark gray upperparts, white underparts, gray sides and flanks. Lower face and front of neck are white; black cap extends below eye. Back of neck is black. Eyes are red. Bill is long, thin, and dull olive-yellow. Winter birds are duller gray and juveniles are light gray overall. Wings have white stripes visible in flight.


Range and Habitat

Western Grebe: Breeds from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba south to California and southwestern Texas. Winters along the Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska to California, on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas. Casual to eastern U.S. Preferred habitats include large lakes with reeds or rushes, shallow coastal bays, and estuaries.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kr-r-rick, kr-r-rick"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Western Grebe was first described in 1858 by Sir William Lawrence, an English surgeon and biologist.
  • Folk names for this bird include Dabchick, Swan Grebe, and Swan-necked Grebe.
  • It is the largest North American grebe.
  • A group of grebes are collectively known as a "water dance" of grebes.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Western Grebe

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X