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Red-necked Grebe

Podiceps grisegena ORDER: PODICIPEDIFORMES FAMILY: PODICIPEDIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Red-necked Grebe breeds on small inland lakes in Canada and Alaska, and winters along both coasts of North America. Boldly marked, vocal, and aggressive during the breeding season, it is quiet and subtly attired in winter.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
16.9–22 in
43–56 cm
Wingspan
24–34.6 in
61–88 cm
Weight
28.2–56.4 oz
800–1600 g
Other Names
  • Holboell's Grebe, Gray-cheeked Grebe
  • Grèbe jougris (French)
  • (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Like other grebes, the Red-necked Grebe ingests large quantities of its own feathers. Feathers remain in the bird's stomach. The function of feathers in the stomach is unknown. One hypothesis suggests that the feathers help protect the lower digestive tract from bones and other hard, indigestible material.
  • The Red-necked Grebe also feeds its feathers to its young.
  • The Red-necked Grebe migrates over land strictly at night. It sometimes migrates over water or along coasts by day, in large flocks.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Breeds on shallow freshwater lakes, bays of larger lakes, marshes, and other inland bodies of water. Winters on open ocean or on large lakes.

Food


Fish

Fish, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and some mollusks and amphibians.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–9 eggs
Egg Description
Light blue.
Condition at Hatching
Downy and active; chicks immediately climb onto parent's back, where they spend most of their time until they are 10 to 17 days old.
Nest Description

Floating mound of plant matter with a depression in the middle; bulk of nest is below water line. Nest is placed on aquatic vegetation, sometimes in open water, and anchored to the lake bottom or submerged logs.

Nest Placement

Floating

Behavior


Surface Dive

Pair bond is developed and maintained through highly complex, ritualized courtship displays, including parallel rushes in upright positions and mutual presentation of green weeds.Pairs defend their territories with various threat displays, including spreading of wings, hunching, raising heads, or thrusting bills forward.Dives under water for food. Locates prey by sight. Captures prey by grasping with bill.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

No clear trend in population numbers. Susceptible to contaminants, such as organochlorines and heavy metals, that accumulate in tissues of prey species. Habitat loss for agriculture, roads, and development is also a threat. Listed as Threatened in Wisconsin. Otherwise no official status.

Credits

  • Stout, B. E., and G. L. Nuechterlein. 1999. Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena). In The Birds of North America, No. 465 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Red-necked Grebe Range Map
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