Bird’s ID – Pied-billed Grebe # 222

Pied-billed Grebe


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. 

Pied-billed grebes are small, stocky, and short-necked. They are 31–38 cm (12–15 in) in length, with a wingspan of 45–62 cm (18–24 in) and weigh 253–568 g (8.9–20.0 oz). They are mainly brown, with a darker crown and back. Their brown color serves as camouflage in the marshes they live in. They do not have white under their wings when flying, like other grebes. Their undertail is white and they have a short, blunt chicken-like bill that is a light grey color, which in summer is encircled by a broad black band (hence the name). In the summer, its throat is black. There is no sexual dimorphism. Juveniles have black and white stripes and look more like winter adults. This grebe does not have webbed feet. Its toes have lobes that come out of the side of each toe. These lobes allow for easy paddling. When flying, the feet appear behind the body due to the feet’s placement in the far back of the body.

Pied-billed grebes feed mainly on aquatic invertebrates, and also on small fish and amphibians (frogs, tadpoles). They dive to obtain food.

I photographed this Pied-billed Grebe in Mejia (Arequipa) Bird Sanctuary (Humedals).

The Pied-billed Grebe made # 222 lifer on my List.


Photo Gallery



© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

12 thoughts on “Bird’s ID – Pied-billed Grebe # 222

  1. I love these little guys. Haven’t seen any yet but I’ve only been out to one possible location. My first impression was that they reminded me of little rubber duckies (bathtub toys), not that I ever had one.

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