Pied-billed Grebe

Podilymbus podiceps

Summary 7

The Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a species of the grebe family of water birds. Since the Atitlán Grebe (Podilymbus gigas) has become extinct, it is the sole extant member of the genus Podilymbus. The Pied-billed Grebe is primarily found in ponds throughout the Americas. Other names of this grebe include American dabchick, dabchick, Carolina grebe, devil-diver, dive-dapper, dipper, hell-diver, pied-billed dabchick, thick-billed grebe, and water witch.

Podilymbus podiceps 8

A small (13 inches) grebe, the Pied-billed Grebe in summer is most easily identified by its gray-brown body, black chin, and conspicuous black bill stripe. In winter, this species loses its black facial adornments, becoming plain gray-brown overall. Male and female Pied-billed Grebes are similar to one another in all seasons. The Pied-billed Grebe breeds across much of the United States, southern Canada, and the northern half of Mexico. In winter, northerly-breeding Pied-billed Grebes abandon their breeding grounds and migrate south as far as southern Mexico and Central America; populations that breed further south are non-migratory. Other non-migratory populations exist in the West Indies, at isolated sites in Central America, and in South America south to central Argentina. Pied-billed Grebes breed on small lakes and ponds, preferring heavily vegetated areas for nest-building and more open areas for feeding. This species utilizes similar habitat types in winter as in summer. Pied-billed Grebes primarily eat small fish, insects, and crustaceans. In appropriate habitat, Pied-billed Grebes may be observed floating low in the water, periodically diving down to capture prey. Many birdwatchers learn to appreciate the Pied-billed Grebe’s ability to quickly sink into the water with minimal surface disturbance when, after returning their attention to the water after a momentary distraction, they discover the bird has “vanished” without a trace. Pied-billed Grebes are primarily active during the day, but migrating birds fly mainly at night.

Threat Status: Least concern

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Len Blumin, some rights reserved (CC BY), http://www.flickr.com/photos/9062441@N02/2093295755
  2. (c) Dori, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/Pied-billed_Grebe_0561.jpg
  3. (c) Mdf, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/Podilymbus-podiceps-001.jpg/460px-Podilymbus-podiceps-001.jpg
  4. (c) Alan Vernon, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Pied-billed_Grebe_in_non-breeding_plumage_2.jpg
  5. (c) Alan Vernon, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/Pied-billed_Grebe_in_non-breeding_plumage_1.jpg
  6. (c) Alan Vernon, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Pied-billed_Grebe_in_breeding_plumage.jpg
  7. (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podilymbus_podiceps
  8. (c) Unknown, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/22710161

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