Identification of Grebes
Grebes are duck-like birds with lobed toes that help make them excellent swimmers. Not often seen in flight or on the ground.
What you should know:
- Unlike ducks, sexes are similar in appearance.
- Clark’s and Western Grebe show little seasonal plumage differences.
- Red-necked Grebe, Horned and Eared Grebes exhibit substantially different plumages in summer and winter.
- Winter Pied-billed Grebes are browner and lack the black band on the bill, compared to their spring and summer plumage.
- Least Grebe has a limited range in the United States, typically far south Texas.
Non-breeding plumaged Eared and Horned Grebes are very similar.
Western and Clark’s Grebes are very similar and were previously considered the same species. Winter plumages are very similar.
Select from the species below:
Clark’s Grebe Eared Grebe Horned Grebe Least Grebe Pied-billed Grebe Red-necked Grebe Western Grebe
This photograph provides a good comparison of the Horned Grebe (left) and Eared Grebe in winter plumage.
The two species become even more similar in the winter.
The Clark’s Grebe has less white on the face with the black cap extending down to the eye, gray in front of the eye.
The black cap on the Western is reduced upward.