Red-necked Grebe Life History


Habitat Lakes and PondsBreeds on shallow freshwater lakes, bays of larger lakes, marshes, and other inland bodies of water. Winters on open ocean or on large lakes.Back to top


Food FishFish, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and some mollusks and amphibians.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Floating

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.

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.
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Behavior Surface DivePair 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.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on Red-necked Grebe population trends and numbers. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan rates the species a 13 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and lists it as a Species of Moderate Concern. Red-necked Grebe is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, but are listed as Endangered in Wisconsin. These birds are 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 to the species. Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA. 

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Stout, Bonnie E. and Gary L. Nuechterlein. 1999. Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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