Living Bird Magazine
Horned GrebePodiceps auritus
- ORDER: Podicipediformes
- FAMILY: Podicipedidae
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.More ID Info
- Zampullín Cuellirrojo (Spanish)
- Grèbe esclavon (French)
- Cool Facts
- Like most grebes, the small chicks of the Horned Grebe frequently ride on the backs of their swimming parents. The young ride between the wings on the parent's back, and may even go underwater with them during dives.
- The Horned Grebe regularly eats some of its own feathers, enough that its stomach usually contains a matted plug of them. This plug may function as a filter or may hold fish bones in the stomach until they can be digested. The parents even feed feathers to their chicks to get the plug started early.
- A sleeping or resting Horned Grebe puts its neck on its back with its head off to one side and facing forward. It keeps one foot tucked up under a wing and uses the other one to maneuver in the water. Having one foot up under a wing makes it float with one "high" side and one "low" side.
- The oldest recorded Horned Grebe was at least 5 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in the Northwest Territories in 2007, the same place where it had been banded in 2002.