Red-necked Grebe

photo by Phil Swanson

Podiceps grisegena
L 20″ (51 cm).

Song or calls:
In spring and summer both sexes utter courtship notes that begin with a series of loonlike wailings.

Description: Sexes similar. Large grebe with long, yellowish bill. Winter birds with dusky throat, white of chin extends onto rear of face in a crescent; back and wings brownish; dark brown crown and forehead. Immature birds resemble winter birds but have little white on cheeks; bill grayish or pale.

Nebraska Seasons: Look for Red-necked Grebes on large lakes and reservoirs in late October.

Habitat: Rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental visitor in summer. Rare casual fall migrant across the state. No breeding records in Nebraska.

Field Notes: Generally solitary; often quite shy.

Fun Facts: Red-necked 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. They also feed their own feathers to their young, possibly for the same purpose.