Least Grebe

Silhouette GrebesGrebes
Least GrebeTachybaptus dominicus
  • ORDER: Podicipediformes
  • FAMILY: Podicipedidae

Basic Description

The Least Grebe is a tiny, almost metallic gray waterbird with a brilliant golden eye and a tuft of white at the stern. These chunky-bodied grebes spend their time in shallow freshwater or brackish ponds (and even flooded ditches) where they hunt insects and frogs. Completely at home in the water, they sometimes hide out with the body submerged and only the bill out of the water, almost like a tiny alligator. These birds are fairly common in tropical wetlands but reach the United States only in South Texas.

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

Find This Bird

Small, vegetation-choked ponds in the tropics are the best place to find Least Grebes. To see one in the U.S. you'll need to visit southern Texas, especially the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where they are relatively common. There they favor oxbow lakes (known locally as resacas) but may turn up in almost any small freshwater wetland with some open water. Look for Pied-billed and Eared Grebes, Common Gallinules, American Coots, and Ruddy Ducks in these places as well.

Other Names

  • Zampullín Macacito (Spanish)
  • Grèbe minime (French)
  • Cool Facts