Eared Grebe

Podiceps nigricollis




Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to light blue, nest stained.

Number of Eggs:

1 - 9

Incubation Days:

20 - 22

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Floating and anchored to vegetation.

Nest Material:

Fresh and decayed vegetation.





Eared Grebe: Small grebe with black upperparts, dark chestnut-brown flanks and sides, white underparts. Head and neck black with orange-yellow ear-tufts. Crown feathers erect, forming a peak. Black bill is slightly upcurved; eyes are red. Sexes are similar. Winter adult is gray with darker upperparts, mottled underparts and dark face with distinct white lower margin. Juvenile like winter adult, but dark areas are usually browner, often with pale gray tinge on lores, some white markings behind eye, buff tinge on side of head and upper neck.

Range and Habitat

Eared Grebe: Breeds from British Columbia, southern Manitoba and the Dakotas south to California, New Mexico, and northwest Texas. Spends winters on the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic (rare) coasts, and occasionally on open water in the interior southwest and Texas. Preferred habitats include marshy lakes and ponds; open bays and ocean during the winter.

Breeding and Nesting

Eared Grebe: These grebes are monogamous and have elaborate courtship displays. One to nine white to light blue eggs are laid on a floating nest made of vegetation in a marsh. They usually nests in dense colonies. Incubation ranges from 20 to 22 days and is carried out by both parents. After hatching, the young ride on the backs of their parents for the first two weeks.

Foraging and Feeding

Eared Grebe: Their diet includes a wide variety of aquatic prey, principally invertebrates including small crustaceans, especially brine shrimp and insects. They also less frequently eat small fish, mollusks, amphibians. They use four capture methods: diving, head-skimming, dipping and pecking. They prefer shallow saline ponds and lakes and also forage near shore on coasts.


Eared Grebe: Song is a high, rising whistle "ooEEK" or "ooEEKa", usually repeated.

Similar Species

Eared Grebe: Horned Grebe has a chestnut neck, a straighter bill and squared head.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X