Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus

  • Order: Podicipediformes
  • Family: Podicipedidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
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Breeding adult

Fairly small grebe with short, straight bill. Breeding adults have black head with rich golden tufts, black back, and cinnamon neck, breast, and sides.

Nonbreeding

Fairly small grebe with small head and short, straight bill. Nonbreeding birds have black head sharply contrasting with white cheek, gray-black upperparts, and grayish white underparts. Note white-tipped bill.

Immature

Small-bodied grebe with long neck and short, straight bill. Immatures resemble nonbreeding adults, with black cap and clean white cheek, but with grayish wash to neck.

Nonbreeding

When molting into breeding plumage, can show mix of gold or chestnut breeding coloration with grayish nonbreeding plumage.

Nonbreeding

In flight shows clean border of black cap with white neck. Leading edge of wing is dark in nonbreeding plumage. Feet are lobed, not webbed.

Nonbreeding

Courtship often happens during spring migration; pairs have several displays involving rearing up out of the water and coordinating their movements in "dances."

Nonbreeding

Often occurs in flocks and winters on large bodies of water, particularly saltwater but also freshwater to a lesser extent.

Breeding adult

Breeds in small ponds and marshes, mainly north of 50 degrees North latitude; builds nest out of floating mass of vegetation.

Recommended Citation

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/horgre