Black-necked Grebe Bird – Profile | Facts | Migration

Black-necked grebe

The black-necked grebe, scientific name Podiceps nigricollis, recognized in North America because the eared grebe is a member of the grebe family of water birds. In this article, I am going to talk about Black-necked Grebe sightseeing, winter plumage, winter, images, juvenile, summer plumage, etc.

Black-necked Grebe Bird profile

It was described in 1831 by Christian Ludwig Brehm. There are presently three accepted subspecies, together with the nominate subspecies.

Its breeding plumage contains a distinctive ochre-colored plumage that extends behind its eye and over its ear coverts.

The remainder of the higher components, together with the pinnacle, neck, and breast, are colored black to blackish brown.

The flanks are tawny rufous to the maroon chestnut, and the stomach is white.

When in its non-breeding plumage, this fowl has greyish-black higher components, together with the highest of the pinnacle and a vertical stripe on the again of the neck.

The flanks are additionally greyish-black. The remainder of the physique is a white or whitish color. The juvenile has extra brown in its darker areas.

The subspecies californicus could be distinguished from the nominate by the previous’s normally longer bill.

The opposite subspecies, P. n. gurneyi, could be differentiated by its greyer head and higher components and by its smaller measurement. P. n. gurneyi may also be informed aside by its lack of a non-breeding plumage.

This species is current in components of Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas.


The black-necked grebe makes use of a number of foraging strategies. Bugs, which make up the vast majority of this bird’s weight-reduction plan, are caught both on the floor of the water or when they’re in flight. It often practices foliage gleaning.

This grebe dives to catch crustaceans, mollusks, tadpoles, and small frogs and fish.

When molting at saline lakes, this fowl feeds totally on brine shrimp. The black-necked grebe makes a floating cup nest on an open lake.

The nest cup is roofed with a disc. This nest is positioned each in colonies and by itself. Throughout the breeding season, which varies relying on location, this species will lay one (typically two) clutch of three to 4 eggs.

The variety of eggs is typically bigger as a consequence of conspecific brood parasitism.

After a 21-day incubation interval, the eggs hatch, after which the nest is abandoned. After about 10 days, the dad and mom cut up up the chicks between themselves.

After this, the chicks turn out to be unbiased in about 10 days and fledge in about three weeks.

Black-necked Grebe  Migration

Though it typically avoids flight, the black-necked grebe travels so far as 6,000 kilometers (3,700 mi) throughout the migration.

As well as, it turns flightless for 2 months after finishing the migration to achieve a space the place it could actually safely molt.

Throughout this molt, the grebe can double in weight. The migrations to achieve these areas are harmful, typically with hundreds of grebe deaths.

Regardless of this, it’s categorized as a least concern species by the Worldwide Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It’s probably that that is essentially the most quite a few grebes on this planet.

There are potential threats to it, resembling oil spills, however, these aren’t more likely to current a significant threat to the general inhabitants.

Black-necked Grebe  Description

The black-necked grebe normally measures between 28 and 34 centimeters (11 and 13 in) in size and weighs 265 to 450 grams (9.Three to 15.9 oz).

The nominate subspecies in breeding plumage have the pinnacle, neck, breast, and higher components colored black to blackish brown, except the ochre-colored fan of feathers extending behind the attention over the eye-coverts and sides of the nape.

This eye is generally crimson, with a slender and paler yellow ring on the internal components of the attention and an orange-yellow to pinkish-red orbital ring.

The skinny, upturned bill, alternatively, is black and is linked to the attention by a blackish line beginning on the gape.

Typically, the foreneck could be discovered to be principally tinged brown.

The upper wing is blackish to drab brown in color and has a white patch fashioned by the secondaries and a part of the internal primaries.

The flanks are colored tawny rufous to maroon-chestnut and have the occasional blackish fleck.

The underwing and stomach are white, with an exception to the previous being the darkish tertials and the principally pale grey-brown outer primaries.

The legs are a darkish greenish-gray. The sexes are related.

In non-breeding plumage, the nominate has greyish-black higher components, cap, nape, and hindneck, with the color on the higher portion of the latter being contained in a vertical stripe.

The darkish color of the cap reaches under the attention and could be seen, subtle, to the ear-coverts. Behind the ear-coverts on the perimeters of the neck, there are white ovals.

The remainder of the neck is gray to brownish-grey in color and has white that varies in quantity.

The breast is white, and the stomach is whitish. The flanks are colored in a mixture of blackish-grey with white flecks.

The color of the bill when not breeding differs from that of the breeding plumage, with the previous being considerably extra gray.

The juvenile black-necked grebe is just like the non-breeding grownup.

There are variations, nevertheless, together with the truth that the darkish areas are normally extra brownish within the juvenile, with much less black.

The lores are sometimes tinged pale gray, with whitish marks behind the attention.

On the perimeters of the pinnacle and higher neck, there’s a buffy or tawny tinge.

The chick is downy and has a blackish-grey head with stripes and spots which are white or pale buff-grey.

The throat and foreneck are largely pale. The higher components are principally darkish gray in color, and the stomach is white.

The subspecies californicus normally has an extended bill in comparison with the nominate and has brown-grey internal primaries in the course of the breeding season.

When not breeding, the nominate has diffuse and pale lores much less typically than Podiceps nigricollis californicus.

The opposite subspecies, P. n. gurneyi, is the smallest of the three subspecies, along with having a greyer head and higher components.

The grownup of this subspecies additionally has a rufous-brown tinge on its lesser wing-coverts. It additionally lacks a non-breeding plumage, along with the tufts on the facet of its head being paler.


When breeding, the black-necked grebe offers a quiet “ooeek” that ascends in pitch from an already excessive pitch.

This name can also be used as a territorial name, along with a low and quick trill, which itself can also be used throughout courtship.

One other name is a brief “puuii” or “wit”. This grebe is silent when it’s not the breeding season and when it’s feeding or resting.

Black-necked Grebe  Distribution and habitat

This species breeds in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, northern South America, and the southwest and western United States.

After breeding, this fowl migrates to saline lakes to molt. Then, after finishing the molt and ready for typically a number of months, it migrates to winter in locations such because the south-western Palearctic and the eastern components of each Africa and Asia.

It additionally winters in southern Africa, one other place the place it breeds.

Within the Americas, it winters as far south as Guatemala, though the wintering inhabitants there may be primarily restricted to islands within the Gulf of California, the Salton Sea, and Baja California.

When not breeding, its habitat is primarily saline lakes and coastal estuaries.

Black-necked grebe Behavior

This grebe is very gregarious, normally forming massive colonies when breeding and enormous flocks when not.

Black-necked grebe Breeding

This species builds its floating nest within the normally shallow water of open lakes. The nest itself is anchored to the lake by vegetation.

It’s constructed by each male and the feminine and made out of plant matter. Most of it’s submerged, with the underside of the shallow cup normally being the stage with the water. Above the cup, there’s a flat disc.

This grebe nests each in colonies and by itself. When it doesn’t nest by itself, it’ll typically nest in mixed-species colonies made up of black-headed gulls, geese, and numerous different waterbirds.

The area between the nests in these colonies is commonly 1 to 2 meters (3.3to 6.6 ft).

Whether or not it nests in colonies or not has an impact on the size of the nest.

When the fowl will not be in a colony, the nest has a mean diameter of 28 centimeters (11 in), though this may fluctuate, with nests starting from about 20 centimeters (eight in) to over 30 centimeters (12 in).

That is in comparison with nests in colonies, which have a mean diameter of about 25.5 centimeters (10 in).

It’s advised that hardly ever some pairs of this grebe will steward over a number of nests when in colonies.

Pair formation within the black-necked grebe normally begins throughout pauses within the migration to the breeding grounds, though it often happens earlier than, in wintering pairs.

This pair formation continues after this grebe has arrived at its breeding grounds. Courtship happens when it arrives on the breeding lake.

The shows are carried out in the course of the lake. There isn’t any territory concerned with courting; people used the entire space of the lake.

When promoting for a mate, a black-necked grebe will method different black-necked grebes with its physique fluffed out and its neck erect.

Black-necked grebe closes its beak to carry out a name, poo-eee-chk, with the final notice solely barely audible. Courtship typically stops firstly of nesting.

Within the Northern Hemisphere, this bird breeds from April to August. In east Africa, the breeding season is at the very least from January to February, whereas in southern Africa, the breeding season is from October to April.

The black-necked grebe is socially monogamous. Conspecific or intraspecific brood parasitism, the place the feminine lays eggs within the nest of others of their very own species is frequent with practically 40% of nests being parasitized on common.

When it comes to territory, this grebe will defend solely its nest web site.

This grebe lays a clutch, and typically two clutches, of three to 4 chalky greenish or bluish eggs.

Nests of the Black-necked grebe that were parasitized, nevertheless, could have two extra eggs in common, although the quantity the host lays is about identical regardless of if it has been parasitized or not.

The Black-necked grebe’s eggs, though initially immaculate, do get stained by plant matter that the nest is constructed out of.

The eggs measure 45 by 30 millimeters (1.eight by 1.2 in) on common and are incubated by each dad and mom for about 21 days.

The laying date of the eggs is considerably synchronized, with birds in small colonies having the laying dates unfold out by only a few days, in comparison with massive colonies, the place the laying date is unfolded out over greater than 10 days.

After the chicks hatch, the birds will desert their nest. Though the younger can swim and dive throughout this time, they hardly ever do, as a substitute staying on the dad and mom’s backs for 4 days after hatching.

This behavior is current in all grebes, and is more likely to have developed as a result of it reduces journey prices, particularly these again to the nest to brood the chicks and provides them meals.

After about 10 days, the dad and mom cut up the chicks up, with every dad or mum caring for about half of the brood.

After this cut-up, the chicks are unbiased in about 10 days and fledge in about three weeks.

When disturbed whereas incubating, this fowl normally (slightly below 50% of the time) partly covers its eggs with nest materials when the disruption will not be sudden, however, a fowl with an incomplete clutch normally doesn’t try to cowl the eggs.

When the disruption is sudden, alternatively, the black-necked grebe normally (slightly below 50% of the time) doesn’t cover its eggs.

Compared, different species of grebes cowl up their eggs when leaving the nest.

Predation is normally not the first explanation for egg loss, with most nesting failures occurring after the chicks have hatched. A serious explanation for that is the chilling of the younger.

Black-necked grebe Feeding

The black-necked grebe forages primarily by diving from the water, with dives normally lasting lower than 30 seconds.

These dives are normally shorter in time when in additional shallow water. In between dives, this grebe rests for a mean of 15 seconds.

When feeding on brine shrimp at hypersaline lakes, it probably makes use of its massive tongue to dam the oral cavity.

It’s hypothesized that it then crushes prey in opposition to its palate to take away extra water.

It additionally forages by gleaning foliage, plucking objects off of the floor of the water, having its head submerged whereas swimming, and typically capturing flying bugs.

This grebe eats principally bugs, of each grownup and larval levels, in addition to crustaceans, mollusks, tadpoles, and small frogs and fish.

When molting at lakes with excessive salinity, though, this fowl feeds totally on brine shrimp.

The behavior of black-necked grebes adjustments in response to the provision of brine shrimp; our bodies of water with extra shrimp have extra grebes, and grebes spend extra time foraging when the quantity of shrimp and the water temperature decreases.

The younger are fed one after the other by the dad and mom, with one fowl carrying the younger whereas the opposite feed it.

The younger take meals by grabbing it, with their beaks, from their dad and mom, or by grabbing meals dropped into the water.

When a younger fowl can not seize the meals, then the adults submerge their bill into the water and shake their bill to interrupt up the meals.

Black-necked grebe Moult and migration

When breeding is over, the black-necked grebe normally partakes in a molt migration to saline lakes.

It particularly prefers lakes with massive numbers of invertebrate prey, so it could actually fatten up whereas moulting and earlier than occurring its winter migration.

Some birds, though, moult when on the breeding grounds, however, most don’t moult till the top of the moult migration.

This migration is harmful, with a whole lot and typically hundreds of birds being killed by snowstorms when touring to locations resembling Mono Lake.

When it finishes its moult migration, this fowl moults its remiges between August and September, which makes it unable to fly.

This moult is preceded by a rise in weight. Throughout the moult, the breast muscular tissues atrophy.

When the moult is accomplished, this grebe continues to realize weight, typically greater than doubling its unique weight.

This extra fat is used to energy the black-necked grebe’s in a single-day fall migration to its wintering grounds.

The fats are mostly concentrated within the stomach, second-most within the thorax, and least within the chest.

This fowl normally begins its migration earlier when shrimp is extra plentiful and when the molting lake is at a better than common temperature.

It typically leaves on transparent nighttime with a decrease than common floor temperatures.

Black-necked grebe Speed

This grebe is among the most inefficient fliers amongst birds. Usually, it avoids flying in any respect prices and reserves long-distance flight solely for migration.

That is mixed with the truth that this fowl is flightless for 2 months of the yr throughout its molt.

Nonetheless, when migrating, it travels as a lot as 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) to achieve wealthy feeding areas that might be exploited by a few different species.

In-flight, the form of this grebe is sort of a loon: straight neck, legs trailing, and wings beating typically.

When diving, this fowl pulls its head again after which arches it ahead into the water, with the physique following and a slight springing.

The legs begin transferring solely after they’re underwater.

When swimming on the floor of the water, the physique of this grebe is comparatively excessive, though not one of the underparts is seen.

The neck is held straight up in a relaxed method, with the bill being held ahead and parallel to the water. Every one of the toes carries out sturdy alternating strokes.

Black-necked grebe Standing

As of 2016, the black-necked grebe is assessed as the least concern by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The development of the inhabitants is unsure, as some populations are lowering, whereas others are steady, have an unsure development, or are growing.

The justification for the present classification of this species is its very massive inhabitants (estimated around 3.9–4.2 million people) mixed with a big estimated extent of incidence (about 155 million km2 (60 million sq mi)). This grebe might be essentially the most quite a few grebes on this planet.

Unknown biotoxins, pathogens, and the impairment of feather waterproofing can result in hypothermia and avian cholera. Since this grebe normally winters on the coast, it’s also weak to grease air pollution.

Massive-scale illness, resembling avian cholera, might threaten the species.

These and different components, resembling human disturbance, together with collisions with energy transmission strains, contribute to declining populations in sure areas.

This species was threatened in North America by the millinery trade, which helped facilitate the searching of the birds, and egg collectors.

Though that is true, this grebe is hunted within the Gilan Province in Iran, for each industrial and leisure function.

Nonetheless, there isn’t any proof suggesting that these threats might end in a big threat for the general inhabitants.

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