Pied-billed Grebe Bird – Facts | Profile | Nest | Migration

Pied-billed grebe

The pied-billed grebe, scientific name Podilymbus podiceps is a species of the grebe household of water birds. For the reason that Atitlán grebe (Podilymbus gigas) has to turn out to be extinct, it’s the sole extant member of the genus Podilymbus.

Pied-billed grebe profile

The pied-billed grebe is primarily present in ponds all through the Americas. In this article, I am going to give an overview of pied-billed grebe call, baby, chick, nest, migration, feet, hunting, sound, etc.

Different names of this grebe embody American dabchick, rail, dabchick, Carolina grebe, devil-diver, dive-dapper, dipper, hell-diver, pied-billed dabchick, pied-bill, thick-billed grebe, and water witch.

Pied-billed grebe Description

Pied-billed grebes are small, stocky, and short-necked. They’re 31–38 cm (12–15 in) in size, with a wingspan of 45–62 cm (18–24 in) and weigh 253–568 g (8.9–20.zero oz).

They’re primarily brown, with a darker crown and again. Their brown shade serves as camouflage within the marshes they dwell in.

They don’t have white beneath their wings when flying, like different grebes.

Their undertail is white and so they have a brief, blunt chicken-like bill that may be a mild gray shade, which in summer is encircled by a broad black band (therefore the title). In the summertime, its throat is black.

There isn’t a sexual dimorphism in Pied-billed grebe. Juveniles have black and white stripes and look extra like winter adults.

This grebe doesn’t have webbed toes. Its toes have lobes that come out of the aspect of every toe.

These lobes permit for simple paddling. When flying, the toes seem behind the physique as a result of feet’ placement within the far again of the physique.

It could be confused with the least grebe, though that species is far smaller and has a thinner bill.

Different equally sized grebes are very distinct in plumage, i.e. the eared grebe and horned grebe.

Each species bear way more colorful breeding plumage, with rufous sides, golden crests alongside the aspect of the pinnacle in opposition to contrasting slaty shade (additionally a rufous neck within the horned); whereas in winter, each the eared and horned grebes are pied with slaty and cream shade and have crimson eyes.

Pied-billed grebe sound

Its name is exclusive, loud, and feels like a “whooping kuk-kuk-cow-cow-cow-cowp-cowp.” Its name is just like the yellow-billed cuckoo.

Pied-billed grebe Distribution and habitat

They’re mostly discovered all through North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America yr spherical.

In the course of the summer season breeding season, they’re most prevalent in central, northern, and northeastern Canada.

In the event that they dwell in a space the place the water freezes within the winter, they’ll migrate. Migrating birds typically meet with year-round birds in September and October.

They migrate at night time. Most migratory birds depart in March or April. They make occasional appearances in Europe and Hawaii.

In the UK, pied-billed grebe visits have numbered 37 sightings as of 2007, showing typically in October to January.

One hen in England bred with somewhat grebe, producing hybrid younger. It’s the sole grebe on the report to have visited the Galapagos Islands.

Pied-billed grebes are present in freshwater wetlands with emergent vegetation, corresponding to cattails. They’re sometimes present in saltwater.

When breeding they’re present in emergent vegetation close to open water, and within the winter they’re primarily present in open water as a result of lack of nests to keep up.

They might dwell close to rivers, however, want nonetheless water. They might be present in greater elevations when migrating.

They are going to breed in restored and man-made wetlands.

Pied-billed grebes dwell roughly 10–12 years.

Size & Shape

Pied-billed Grebes are small, chunky swimming birds. They’ve compact our bodies and slender necks, with comparatively giant, blocky heads and brief, thick payments. They’ve nearly no tail.

Pied-billed grebe Behavior

Pied-billed grebes hardly ever fly. They make a sluggish dive continuously, particularly when in peril, diving to about 20 ft (6.1 m) or much less.

They dive for about 30 seconds and will transfer to a more secluded space of the water, permitting solely the pinnacle to be seen to observe the hazard dissipate.

This frequency in diving has earned them the outline of being reclusive or shy in nature. It has additionally earned them nicknames like “hell-diver.”

They hardly ever spend time in flocks. Their courtship includes calling and typically duets. Males will present territorial behavior if one other male is on the fringe of his territory.

They face one another after which flip their heads and payments up. Then they flip away and begin calling. Then they flip again round to take a look at each other.


These are brown birds, barely darker above and extra tawny-brown on the underparts. Throughout the spring and summer season, the crown and nape are darkish and the throat is black.

Whereas breeding, the bill is whitish with a black band (“pied’), however in any other case is yellow-brown. Juveniles have striped faces.

Pied-billed grebe

Pied-billed grebe Breeding

The pied-billed grebe breeds in south-central Canada, all through the USA, Central America, the Caribbean, and temperate South America.

These grebes could lay as much as two units of eggs a yr. Their nests sit on high of the water, their eggs sitting in vegetation that resides within the water.

Grebes lay between three and ten bluish-white easy elliptical eggs with the feminine beginning the incubation course.

They’re incubated for around 23 days by each mother and father, with the feminine taking up incubation duties in the direction of the tip of that point interval.

They are going to cowl the nest with nesting materials if they’ve to depart it for a prolonged time period.

Younger grebes could depart the nest inside in the future of hatching.

They’re downy at the beginning.

Yellow pores and skin is seen between the lore and high of the pinnacle.

They don’t swim effectively and keep out of the water.

They sleep on their parents’ backs. Inside 4 weeks they begin swimming.

When alerted they’ll climb on the again of a father or mother grebe and finally mature to dive beneath the water like their mother and father.

Each mother and father share the function of elevating the younger – each feeding and carrying them on their backs.

Generally, the mother and father will dive underwater to get meals with the chicks on their backs.

Pied-billed grebe Diet

Pied-billed grebes feed primarily on aquatic invertebrates, and in addition to small fish and amphibians (frogs, tadpoles).

They dive to acquire meals. Their payments permit them to crush crustaceans, like crawfish. They might additionally eat crops.

They’ve been proven to eat their very own feathers, like different grebes, to assist in digestion (stop injury from small bones). They can even feed their feathers to their younger ones.

Feeding attitude

Forages by diving from the floor and swimming underwater propelled primarily by toes.

Pied-billed grebe Eggs

4-7, hardly ever 2-10. Pale bluish-white, turning into stained brownish. Incubation by each sex (feminine does extra), about 23 days.

Eggs are lined with nest materials when incubating hen departs. Younger: Can swim quickly after hatching.

Younger is fed by each mother and father, typically journey on mother and father’s backs when small; adults could swim underwater with younger on again.

Age at first flight not well-known. One or 2 broods per yr, presumably extra in the south.

Pied-billed grebe Baby

Can swim quickly after hatching. Younger is fed by each mother and father, typically journey on mother and father’ backs when small; adults could swim underwater with younger on back.

Age at first flight not well-known. One or 2 broods per yr, presumably extra in the south.

Pied-billed grebe Nest

The place local weather permits, could have a protracted breeding season, from early spring to mid-autumn.

Courtship shows much less ritualized than in most grebes, involving a lot of calling, typically in duet.

Nest: Site is in shallow water in the marsh, subsequent to the opening in order that birds can strategy nest underwater.

Nest (constructed by each sex) a dense mass of plant materials, floating or constructed up from the backside, anchored to standing vegetation.


They’re extraordinarily delicate to disturbances, particularly by people. Whereas breeding, if scared, adults could abandon their nests without defending the eggs.

The waves from boats can destroy the nests and their sounds simply frighten the birds.

Pied-billed grebe Migration

Populations are discovered year within the southern part of North America and alongside each coast. Farther north, the place the water freezes throughout winter, Pied-billed Grebes migrate.

Migratory birds arrive in winter with the year-round populations throughout September and October.

Migratory populations depart for the breeding grounds in March or April, though many keep behind to breed in appropriate habitat.

Conservation standing

Nonetheless widespread and widespread, however, surveys present declines in the latest a long time.

The grebes are declining in New England. The explanations are unknown.

The states of Connecticut and New Hampshire have declared the pied-billed grebe as endangered.

In New Jersey and Massachusetts, they’ve been declared threatened. In Vermont, they’re of “particular concern.” In Rhode Island, they’re domestically extinct.

Habitat loss is the grebe’s greatest risk.

The draining, filling, and basic destruction of wetlands cause a loss of their breeding habitats.

Nevertheless, they’re nonetheless widespread within the majority of their distribution areas.

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