Horned Grebe Bird – Facts | Profile | Ducks | Chicks

Horned Grebe

The Horned Grebe or Slavonian grebe,  Podiceps auritus is a comparatively small waterbird within the family Podicipedidae. In this article, I am going to talk about Horned Grebe sound, range, duck, chicks, female, babies, images, habitat, etc.

Horned Grebe profile

There are two recognized subspecies: P. a. auritus, which breeds within the Palearctic, and P. a. cornutus, which breeds in North America.

The Eurasian subspecies are distributed over most of northern Europe and the Palearctic, breeding from Greenland to western China.

The North American subspecies spans most of Canada and among the United States.

The species bought its title from massive patches of yellowish feathers positioned behind the eyes, referred to as “horns”, that the birds can elevate and decrease at will.

The Horned Grebe is a small grebe with a straight invoice, thick neck, and squarish head. Inbreeding plumage, Horned Grebes have rufous necks and bellies, grey backs, and blackheads with a stable yellow patch from every eye to the again of the top.

Juveniles are gray-buff, with the decrease half of the face white. Non-breeding adults are gray-black with white on the decrease half of the face and neck.

Horned Grebe Description

Horned grebe might be simply recognized by its red-and-black alternate (breeding) plumage, its black-and-white fundamental (non-breeding) plumage, and its attribute “horns”.

It’s 31–38 cm lengthy, has a wingspan 55–74 cm broad, and weighs 300–570 g. It has a reasonably lengthy neck, flat brow, and a rear crown of black feathers.

Its beak is straight and pointy with a white tip. Each subspecies are bodily related, with P. a. auritius (Palearctic) showing darker than P. a. cornutus (North America), which has mild gray feathers on its again, that are inconspicuous or absent in P. a. auritius.

The horned grebe is usually confused with the black-necked grebe, which has similarities in measurement and coloring, however, differentiates by a steeper brow, a more slender invoice, and a fluffier rump.

The alternate (breeding) plumage of the horned grebe has brilliant erectable “horns”, black fan-shaped cheek feathers, and general red-and-black color.

The neck, flanks, lores, and upper-chest are chestnut brown, whereas the crown and again are black. The stomach is a boring white.

Males are barely bigger and brighter than females however are typically indistinguishable.

The essential (non-breeding) plumage is generally black and white. The neck, chest, and cheeks are white, whereas the again and crown are a boring black-grey.

The border between the crown and the cheeks prolong in a straight line behind the eyes. The essential plumage doesn’t have the “horns”.

Juveniles seem just like a non-breeding grownup besides they’re a barely duller shade of white and there again is tinged with brown.

The road separating the cheeks and crown is much less distinct and their beak is paler. The chicks are fluffy, with a boring gray again, a white stomach, and fascinating black-and-white facial striping.

Horned Grebe Distribution and habitat

The Horned Grebe is distributed in Eurasia and North America. In Eurasia, it breeds in just a few remoted places in Greenland (unusual), Iceland, Scotland, and northwestern Norway, whereas extensively from southeastern Norway to western China.

It winters alongside the coasts of Iceland, Norway, and the British Isles down in the direction of the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea.

In eastern Asia, the Horned Grebe winters alongside the coasts of China, Korea, and Japan.

In North America, it’s restricted to the northwestern area of the continent, with 92% of its distribution positioned in Canada.

The entire North American vary spans from south-central Alaska to northwestern Ontario.

It breeds as far north because of the Yukon and southern Nunavut to northwestern states, from Washington to Minnesota. Moreover, there’s a small inhabitant who breeds yearly on the Magdalene Islands of Quebec.

Its wintering vary can also be primarily coastal from southern Alaska right down to the northern Gulf of California.

Its eastern overwintering vary is from southern Nova Scotia, right down to the Florida Keys and typically west to Texas.

Horned Grebes breed primarily in temperate zones, together with prairies and parklands, however are additionally seen in boreal and subarctic areas.

They breed in small to reasonably sized (0.5-10 ha) shallow freshwater ponds, marshes, and shallow bays on lake edges with beds of emergent vegetation.

They like areas with sedges, rushes, and cattails together with massive areas of open water.

This habitat offers an acceptable web site for nest materials, anchorage, concealment, and safety for the younger.

Throughout the migration, they may cease alongside lakes, rivers, and marshes.

Following the migration, they winter in marine environments of estuaries and bays or inland on massive lakes, though in Norway, massive concentrations congregate on inland lakes.

In winter Horned Grebes are normally discovered on saltwater in coastal bays and uncovered shores, and much much less generally on contemporary water.

In the course of the nesting season, they inhabit lakes with a mixture of open water and wetland vegetation.

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe Behavior


Younger start calling for begging functions in a barely trilled peeping noise, just like that of a home chick. As they mature, their tune modifications to an extra adult-like chittering.

Their typical promoting name is loud and nasal “aaarrh” descending in a pitch and ending in a trill.

They use different calls throughout copulation, alarm, and breeding ceremonies which can be barely variable from the promoting name.

Horned Grebes are extraordinarily vocal throughout breeding, territory institution, and defense.

Their tune is subdued throughout autumn migration and at wintering websites.

Horned Grebe Diet

Horned Grebes dive underwater utilizing their massive toes for agile maneuverability to feed on aquatic arthropods, fish, and crustaceans.

They may also catch airborne bugs on the water’s floor.

Underwater they swallow or seize massive prey re-emerging on the floor to govern the fish headfirst. They normally feed solitarily or in small teams of as much as 5 people.

In the course of the summertime, aquatic and airborne arthropods are most popular, whereas winter choice favors fish and crustaceans.

The Horned Grebe has a singular adaptation for swallowing fish entirely.

They may eat their very own feathers from a younger age, in order that their abdomen has a matted plug that features like a filter to carry fish bones till digestion.


Horned Grebes are monogamous and develop their relationship by means of elaborate mating routines.

There are 4 pair-bonding ceremonies; discovery ceremony, weed ceremony, head-shaking ceremony, and triumph ceremony.

The invention ceremony begins with promoting shows, which embody an upright posture, erect “horns” and sounding of their promoting name.

Then, each female and male have interaction in bouts of penguin dance and preening.

This preliminary pair-bonding ceremony is to make sure appropriate species identification, intercourse, and compatibility.

The weed ceremony follows the completion of a profitable discovery ceremony. The female and male will dive, retrieve weeds, and rise in synchronization.

The pair will come breast-to-breast with their weeds then flip side-by-side to proceed swimming. This weed-rush can proceed with a number of instances until each people are glad.

Lastly, the head-shaking ceremony and triumph ceremony are carried out for primarily established pairs. As soon as copulation is to happen, it at all times happens on a platform/nest constructed by the pair.

Horned Grebes normally arrive at breeding grounds in pairs or solitarily to hunt out a mate, between April and August.

Inside a typical breeding colony, there are roughly 20 breeding pairs, who nest solitarily. Throughout nesting, Horned Grebes are recognized to defend their nests very aggressively.

These nests are constructed from plant matter and are mostly affixed to emergent vegetation in any other case constructed on land or in shallow open water.

In June, females lay a single clutch of three to eight eggs, that are colored white, brownish or blueish inexperienced. These eggs measure 58 by 39 millimeters (2.three by 1.5 in) on common.

Each man and women share incubation time for 22 to 25 days. When the younger hatch, they’ll swim and dive throughout the first few days, though they should be saved heat by their dad and mom for as much as 14 days.

Throughout this time, the juvenile chicks can usually be seen using on the backs of their swimming dad and mom proper in-between the wing and the again.

Later the Horned grebe will take their first flight at 55–60 days outdated. The species lastly reach sexual maturity at 2 years outdated.


Collectively men and women construct a nest in marsh vegetation. The nest is a floating pile of moist plant materials, anchored to emergent vegetation.

The feminine lays 4 to 5 eggs, and each dad and mom assist incubate the eggs for 22 to 25 days.

Each dad and mom feed the younger, which may swim shortly after hatching and infrequently journey on the parents’ backs. The younger can fly at 55 to 60 days.

Migration Standing

Horned Grebes migrate singly overland by night time and alongside the coast by day.

They go away inland freshwater nesting websites and journey medium distances to coastal marine websites.

Inhabitants traits

The entire western inhabitants are estimated at between 200,000 and 500,000 people and the Eurasian inhabitants at 12,900 to 18,500 mature people.

The worldwide inhabitants have declined by 30% during the last three years and by 79% inside North America.

That is due primarily to human disturbance, forestry operations around breeding sites, fluctuating water ranges, and stocking of lakes with rainbow trout that compete for aquatic bugs. They’re additionally steadily caught in nets, weak to grease spills and ailments.

Between 1985 and 2001, grassland and wetland drainage amounted to five% international habitat loss.

The Canadian western inhabitants are listed as being of particular concern and the breeding inhabitants on Magdalene Islands are listed as endangered.

Because of international declines, the Horned Grebe has been unlisted from ‘least concern’ to ‘weak’ leading to conservation and analysis motion plans.

Conservation Standing

Since most populations of Horned Grebes breed in low densities at excessive latitudes, knowledge of inhabitants’ numbers is inconclusive.

Threats to the inhabitants embody oil spills, pesticide contamination, and degradation of breeding habitat as a result of agriculture.

Additionally of concern is the contraction of the North American breeding very towards the northwest for unknown causes. This varies contraction might sign a decline in general numbers.

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