The Pied-billed Grebe is a nocturnal migrant that prefers to swim or dive away from danger rather than fly. When dawn is approaching, a migrating Pied-billed Grebe suddenly lands on any body of water it can find. It moves north early in the spring, and moves south in response to forming ice.
Pied-billed Grebes usually require a running, flapping start across the water to become airborne. They can also sink slowly down under the water by releasing air from their air sacs and squeezing air out from between their body and their feathers.
The Pied-billed Grebe is a small swimming and diving bird with a compact body and a rather short, stout bill. Breeding birds have a blackish forehead and chin, a white bill with a black band, and mostly tan or brownish plumage.