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Horned Grebe


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Familiar to most North American birders in its black-and-white winter plumage, the Horned Grebe is more striking in its red-and-black breeding feathers. Its "horns" are yellowish patches of feathers behind its eyes that it can raise and lower at will.


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small waterbird.
  • Small head and bill.
  • Bill short and thin.
  • White cheek in winter.
  • Reddish neck, black cheek, and yellow tuft behind eye in summer.

Immature Description

Immature like winter adult.

Range Map Help

Horned Grebe Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

Similar Species

  • Eared Grebe has an all black neck and wispy yellow ear tufts in breeding plumage, darker face with white crescents at rear in winter. Its bill is thinner and appears slightly upturned. It has a steeper forehead peaking over the eye, and a steeper and more tufted rump. Molting Horned Grebe can have dusky cheeks and necks and look like Eared Grebe.
  • Pied-billed Grebe has black band on bill, a thicker bill, and lacks white wing patches.
  • Red-necked Grebe is larger, has a longer bill, and a dirtier face in winter.
  • Ducks have flatter bills and do not sit so low in the water.



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