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Horned Grebe Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A small, compact waterbird with a compact body, relatively short neck, blocky head (sometimes peaked), and straight, narrow bill, very unlike a duck's bill.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than an Eared Grebe, smaller than a Red-necked Grebe.

    Relative Sizebetween robin and crowbetween robin and crow

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 12.2-15.0 in (31-38 cm)
      • Weight: 10.6-20.1 oz (300-570 g)
      • Wingspan: 17.3-18.1 in (44-46 cm)

Regional Differences

Horned Grebes of North America (subspecies cornutus) are paler above than the Old World subspecies, often called "Slavonian Grebe" (auritus). Slavonian Grebes have chestnut, rather than buffy, “horns” (the plumes at the sides of the crown in breeding plumage); and in winter, their crown color is glossy black, unlike the flat gray color of North America's cornutus.