The Hooded Grebe is a short-necked, broad bodied grebe with a striking black and white pattern (Storer 1981). Given good viewing conditions, it can hardly be confused with any other species. Both sexes are similar, males having a slightly longer bill.
It can only be confused with Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis at a distance and or in difficult light conditions. The white forehead and the rufous crown of Hooded Grebe should aid in telling them apart, together with the overall more contrasting coloration of Hooded Grebe. Silvery Grebe looks 'dirty', especially on the head while Hooded 'shines', as if it were wearing a headlamp. With experience, size and posture alone can be used to separate them even at a good distance. Juvenile Hooded Grebes can be told from Silvery Grebes by the dark cap and nape of the latter, gradually tapering into the dark line in the hind-neck (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990).
A strikingly patterned grebe, the white of the neck and flanks contrasting strongly with the black of the head and the back. The white forehead is adorned with an erectile rufous crest and a close view reveals a bright red eye. In flight the wings show ample white with dark tips, a diagnostic feature. This plumage does not vary over the year. Immatures are similar to adults but showing some white feathers in the cheeks. The juveniles have a pale lower forehead and black crown cap contrasting with white lower parts of head and nape (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990).
No information available.
The iris is bright red with a ring of small white spots around the pupil. Immediately behind the eye there is a small crescentic yellow wattle that is unique among grebes (Storer 1981). The bill and the bare area between the eye and the gape are dark slaty blue. Legs are darkish grey and the feet are dark slaty blue.
Measurements were taken by Storer (1981) of two adult males and two adult females. Detailed measurements (male, male, female, female) were: wing (chord) 152, 162, 148, 157 mm; tarsus 46.7, 48.3, 46.6, 47.1 mm; culmen length 20.9, 22.1, - , 21.1; bill from nostril 13.5, 14.5, 12.3, 13.4 mm; bill depth at posterior end of nostril 7.5, 7.6, 7.5, 7.7 mm. Body mass 420, 740, 530, 610 g. Overall size is c. 32 cm for most authors.