Skip to Content

Horned Grebe

Silhouette GrebesGrebes
Horned GrebePodiceps auritus
  • ORDER: Podicipediformes
  • FAMILY: Podicipedidae

Basic Description

The dashing Horned Grebe is a sight in summer with its gray-black head and back, brick red neck, and blazing yellow-orange "horns" on its head. Look for these small grebes on migration as they travel to their breeding lakes in the far north. In winter, they transition to a much more subdued gray and white, with a neat black cap and white cheek that helps separate them from the similar Eared Grebe. In winter, Horned Grebes gather in flocks and dive for fish and other small prey in lakes and bays.

More ID Info
image of range map for Horned GrebeRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

April and October are good times across North America to look for migrating Horned Grebes as they stop over on lakes, rivers, and coastlines. In winter, look for them along both coasts and on open water in the southeastern U.S. Some Horned Grebes winter on the Great Lakes but disperse during cold snaps in search of open (unfrozen) water. At breeding lakes, listen for their trilling calls traveling over the water on calm days.

Other Names

  • Zampullín cuellirrojo (Spanish)
  • Grèbe esclavon (French)
  • Cool Facts

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

Close Merlin