Horned Grebe

photo by Phil Swanson

Podiceps auritus
L 13.5″ (34 cm). Sexes similar.

Song or calls:
Utters wierd, loud striking series of croaks and chattering notes. 

Description: Breeding adult has chestnut foreneck, breast and flanks; back dark, head nearly black with golden ear tufts; slender dark bill. Winter birds have dark crown and nape; cheeks, throat and breast white; pale bill.

Bird Map
Habitat: Lakes and reservoirs and occasionally in large marshes while on migration. Breeding may occur on small to large ponds and marshes with abundant emergent marsh vegetation.Where in Nebraska: Fairly common spring and fall migrant across the entire state. There are no current breeding records although there have been several summer records from the western Sandhills. Occasionally, migrating birds occur in full breeding plumage.

Nebraska Seasons: Most likely time to view migrating birds is April and October.

Fun Facts: Horned Grebes regularly eat their own feathers to create a matted plug in their digestive tract, possibly to act as a filter or hold fish bones in until they can be digested.

Horned Grebe - photo by Phil Swanson male Horned Grebe - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
(click image for larger view)