PIED-BILLED GREBE

PIED-BILLED GREBE(Podilymbus podiceps)
DESCRIPTION: The Pied-billed Grebe has waterproof plumage, which is predominantly brown. During breeding season the throat is black. Juveniles have black and white stripes on the head and neck, and are more greyish than brown. There is a black circle on their otherwise white bill in breeding adults. There is a white circle around the black eye. The feet have lobes at the toes, and the legs are placed further back on the body, allowing for better diving. These water birds measure around 35 cm (14 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Podilymbus-podiceps
NAME: The English name ‘Pied-billed’ stems from the bill color pattern, and Grebe is from the same word in French, which might be related to the crest some species have. The Latin name refers to the placement of this species’ feet near the vent, and to a ‘diver’.
HABITAT: Those grebes are found in various bodies of water like ponds or small lakes, in areas of emergent vegetation.
DIET: Crustaceans and other invertebrates, small fish and frogs.
NESTING: Pied-billed grebes build their nests right on the water from dead vegetation. Their chicks will first travel on their parents’ back before learning to swim.
DISTRIBUTION: Pied-billed grebes are common and widespread. Their overall breeding range covers most of both Americas, and they will migrate to regions where the water does not freeze in the winter. Some individuals have been observed in Europe or the Canary Islands. There is also a small indigenous breeding population at the Aimakapa Fishponds on the Big Island of Hawaii, and nonbreeding individuals on the other main Hawaiian islands.
ON PEI: The pied-billed grebe breeds on Prince Edward Island, and is fairly common on the island throughout the seasons except winter.
CONSERVATION: These grebes can easily be disturbed and will abandon their nests when they feel threatened. There has been a decline in local populations and as a result have been listed as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ in those areas. The main reason is loss of habitat due to wetland drainage for development. In spite of these issues the species is still considered as ‘least concern’.
NOTES: Pied-billed grebes will sink themselves in case of danger rather than fly, as they have the ability to trap water in-between their feathers. Grebes are also known to eat their feathers, and even feeding them to their chicks. This would apparently help protect the lining of their digestive system from abrasive and puncturing pieces of ingested prey.
Grebes are ‘water’ birds, and are excellent at swimming and diving, even though they don’t have webbed feet like ducks. However this ability is counterbalanced by some clumsiness on the ground.
Grebes need a lot of space until they can take off, and they can run very fast on top of the water.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Horned Grebe
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied-billed_grebe
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pied-billed_Grebe/id
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/pied-billed-grebe
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/64/overview/Pied-billed_Grebe.aspx
http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/pied-billed_grebe
https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/85203.html

Pied-billed Grebe - Lake Patagonia, Arizona - May 27, 2005 - Mdf
Pied-billed Grebe – Lake Patagonia, Arizona – May 27, 2005 – Mdf
Pied-billed grebe, nonbreeding adult - Patagonia Lake, Arizona - Nov. 18, 2010 - Alan Schmierer
Pied-billed grebe, nonbreeding adult – Patagonia Lake, Arizona – Nov. 18, 2010 – Alan Schmierer
Pied-grebe chick - Lake Washington, WA - June 27, 2010 - Minette Layne
Pied-grebe chick – Lake Washington, WA – June 27, 2010 – Minette Layne

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