Red-necked Grebes are known for the wide variety of elaborate courtship displays they participate in, although these are not as common on the breeding grounds as one might expect given that many pairs have formed prior to reaching breeding areas. Storms can produce waves which destroy many Red-necked Grebe nests and eggs.
Red-necked Grebes are very territorial, not only against other Red-necked Grebes but also against other water birds. A variety of chases and attacks are used, including an underwater attack in which the grebe swims underneath the intruder and jabs its underside with its bill.
When in breeding plumage it is not easily confused with other species. Winter plumage somewhat resembles Earned or Horned Grebe but bill is much larger.
Sexes are similar.
Description of the Red-necked Grebe
The Red-necked Grebe is a large grebe with a yellowish bill, dark gray upperparts, and a white throat and cheeks. The reddish neck and breast in breeding plumage give it its name.
Length: 18 in. Wingspan: 24 in.
Seasonal change in appearance
Breast and neck become whitish in the winter.
Juveniles have black and white stripes on the face.
Lakes, ponds, and saltwater bays.
Insects and fish, as well as other aquatic life.
Forages from the surface or by diving.
Young will ride on the back of the adults.
Breeds from Alaska to eastern Canada and in parts of the northern U.S. Winters along the east and west coasts. Also occurs in Europe and Asia.
Red-necked Grebes are very aggressive when on territory during the breeding season, actively chasing away potential rivals.
Great Horned Owls and mink prey on incubating adults.
“Crick-crick” calls and loud rattling or raspy notes are given on the breeding grounds.
The nest is a floating platform of plant materials.
Eggs: 4 to 5.
Incubation and fledging:
– Young hatch at 20-23 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) shortly after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.