Winters mainly on sheltered bays or estuaries on coast, also on large fresh water lakes, rarely on rivers. Western Grebes nest on marshes and lakes with stands of emergent vegetation, stable water levels, extensive areas of open water, and sufficient populations of prey fish. Courtship behavior involves complex sequences of elaborate, ritualized postures. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. Age at first flight about 10 weeks. The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Hatching not synchronized; last egg may be abandoned in nest. Legal Notices Privacy Policy Contact Us. Ecological Systems Associated with this Species Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations Your support helps secure a future for birds at risk. Common Name(s): Western Grebe, Western Dabchick, Swan Grebe, Swan-necked Grebe. Habitat: This grebe is usually seen on large reservoirs, lakes, and Lake Erie. Distribution / Habitat: Western Grebes nest in colonies of hundreds on large inland lakes, sometimes using coastal marshes, in western North America. Spread the word. Kushlan, J. Courtship displays elaborate and complex. Males are larger, with larger bills, and they contribute larger stalks and stems. (2013). Sick or injured western grebes occasionally wash up on beaches. Rulers of the Upper Realm, Thunderbirds Are Powerful Native Spirits, 44 Perfect Gifts for the Bird and Nature Lovers in Your Life. Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Nests are built on large inland lakes and coastal marshes of western North America. Arizona Department of Water Resources and Audubon Agree to Funding Plan to Conserve Colorado River Water, How to Get Better at Saving Oiled Birds? Photo: Sunil Singh/Audubon Photography Awards. One brood per year. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Photo: Howard Arndt/Audubon Photography Awards, Great Egret. There are two main displays, called ceremonies because each involves a specific set of behaviors performed in sequence with an almost mechanical precision. Around beginning of 20th century, tens of thousands were killed for their feathers. Western Grebe Images, Facts and Information: Aechmophorus occidentalis Western Grebes are large black and white grebes with cherry-red eyes that breed in lakes and ponds in western North America. Partners in Flight (2017). West of the Cascades, it is a regular breeder at Fern Ridge Reservoir. Sometimes many pairs in a colony display simultaneously. It is a colonial breeder, with an uneven and clustered breeding distribution. Both male and female build the nest together. Nests can be 2–3 feet across or even larger. It is also swan-like in appearance, giving it folk names, like "swan grebe" and "swan-necked grebe". The Western Grebe is the largest member of the grebe family. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena. It usually stays on prairie lakes in British Columbia and California, and sometimes as far down as Mexico. Estimates suggest a steep decline of 2% per year, but these figures have a wide margin of error because of the difficulty of monitoring this species. The Western Grebe is carnivorous, eating mostly insects and fish along with some mollusks and crustaceans. The male and female move through behaviors dubbed neck-stretching, bob-shaking, and weed-diving, before coming to the astonishing weed-dancing, in which male and female face each other with aquatic vegetation in the bill and rise up vertically, their feet in constant motion, necks extended and bills rising upward, and then begin spiral movements around one another, their bills gracefully turning as they pivot around their partner. Or take action immediately with one of our current campaigns below: The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis), version 2.0. Clark’s grebe was recognized as a distinct species in 1985 (AOU 1985). Setting off crisp black-and-white plumage with a yellow bill and red eye, the slender Western Grebe is an elegant presence on lakes and ocean coasts of western North America. 2015; National Audubon Society 2015b). Alert and covered with blackish or silvery down; leaves nest and rides on back of parent after hatching. Habitat. Described to science in 1858, Clark's Grebe was soon dismissed as a mere variant of Western Grebe, and thereafter was ignored for over a century. 2-4, rarely 1-6. The Western Grebe is the largest North American member of the grebe family. We protect birds and the places they need. Studies in the 1970s and 1980s showed that Western and Clark's, though extremely similar, are actually two distinct species. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards, Breeding adult and downy young. 2017. It’s black-and-white, with an extended, slender, swan-like neck and pink eyes. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too. Observed in County(s) Ada. Last summer ended in calamity for a nesting colony at PG&E's Lake Almanor. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. Incubation by both sexes, about 24 days. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019. Folks names embody “dabchick”, “swan grebe” and “swan-necked grebe”. Overwhelmed and Understaffed, Our National Wildlife Refuges Need Help. Grebes breed on still or slow-moving bodies of fresh water. Their back, wings, back of the neck, and cap are black. Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Apparently feeds mainly on fish at all seasons and in all habitats. They stab their prey with a quick jab of the bill or capture it between the mandibles. A typical diet consists of fish, mollusks, crabs and salamanders. It requires open water for foraging on the surface or diving below in pursuit of fish. Range / Habitat: The Western Grebe is commonly found from Canada through California, and sometimes in Mexico. It’s the least you can do. The grebe is often seen in large “rafts”, groups of western grebes far from shore in deeper river channels. The Western Grebe, like other grebes, spends almost all its time The dabchicks and the pied-billed grebe are most numerous on small waters with much emergent vegetation, the western grebe on large bodies of open water. After the breeding season, many move first to lakes where they molt their wing feathers, becoming flightless during that period. Western Grebes nest on large freshwater lakes and marshes edged with reeds and rushes. Range / Habitat: The Western Grebe is commonly found from Canada through California, and sometimes in Mexico. It is commonly seen in the Refuge throughout the year, although less common in summer. Although, at times, this grebe species has been seen in the eastern parts of North America, it is a bird whose habitat is mainly in western regions of the continent. It dives for its food and can stay down in the water for a very long time. Let us send you the latest in bird and conservation news. Some species winter on sheltered coastal waters. It winters both along the seacoast and on major rivers. Clark’s grebe was recognized as a distinct species in 1985 (AOU 1985). In one study on lakes in Oregon, Clark's tended to feed farther from shore and in deeper water. (2019). It is black-and-white, with a long, slender, swan-like neck and red eyes. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. Mostly fish. (2014). The nest is a mound of vegetation with a depression for the eggs in the center, built of aquatic vegetation and anchored to vegetation or an underwater snag, so that it is less subject to wind and wave action. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. Their thin, reedy calls are characteristic sounds of western marshes in summer. During the breeding season, this species appears anything but awkward. The western grebe, scientific name Aechmophorus occidentalis is a species within the grebe family of water birds. Learn more about these drawings. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. Once their new flight feathers have grown in, most Western Grebes then migrate to saltwater or brackish habitats, including ocean shores, sheltered bays, rivers, and estuaries. Nest (built by both sexes) a floating heap of plant material, anchored to standing vegetation. After the breeding season, many move first to lakes where they molt their wing feathers, becoming flightless during that period. Late May through mid-July in South Dakota. Link (2017). This species nests on large inland lakes in western North America and migrates to the Pacific coast over the winter. The belly, bottom of the neck, and lower large of the face are white. It is easily confused with Clark's grebe, which shares similar features, body size, behavior and habitat, and hybridsare known. 2014] Top The Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis ) is a North American waterbird species belonging to the grebe family. Nesting in tidal areas is unusual. Forages by diving from surface and swimming underwater, propelled mainly by feet. Western and Clark’s grebes are closely related picivorous aquatic birds that once were considered different color phases of the same species, and they do occasionally interbreed (Konter 2011). Western Grebe nests are made of plant debris an… Males select the nest site and feed females during the early part of the nesting season; both are territorial at the nest. Hear the call of the Western grebe. It is very similar to the Clark's Grebe, who has a black cap that only starts above the eyes. Pairs perform this display together, but two males may also execute it, presumably to attract females. The grebe is often seen in large “rafts”, groups of western grebes far from shore in deeper river channels. The nest of a Western Grebe is a large platform of reeds and other aquatic vegetation, placed in shallow water in an area protected from waves and wind, and anchored to vegetation to prevent vulnerability to changing conditions. Young: Climb onto back of parent within minutes after hatching, soon leave nest; are fed by both parents. It is easily confused with Clark's Grebe, which shares the same features, behavior and habitat, and hybrids are known. It is very similar to the Clark's Grebe, … Washington, DC, USA. They our largest grebe in North America being only fractionally larger than Clark's Grebes. In almost all aspects of behavior that have been studied, Clark's Grebe seems identical to Western Grebe. Smaller numbers winter inland on lakes and rivers. Until the 1980s, it was thought to be a pale morph of the western grebe, which it resembles in size, range, and behavior.Intermediates between the two species are known. Western Grebes are rarely seen flying, as they migrate at night and have little need for flight at other times. Western Grebe Photos Photography by Terry Sohl. Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis. Western Grebes can be found during the breeding season on large ponds and reservoirs in the Big Sage/Fescue zones in eastern Washington, especially at Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir … Western Grebes nest on large freshwater lakes and marshes edged with reeds and rushes. They dive deeply when hunting, swimming around with wings mostly closed. Like many waterbirds, Western Grebe is sensitive to pesticides, habitat degradation, disturbance by humans (when nesting, especially from motorized watercraft), oil spills, and gill nets. Some birds may live year-round in the southwest. This species has been known to interbreed with the Clark’s Grebe, which looks much like and shares the same habitat as the Western Grebe. Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from Breeds in colonies. It winters mainly in coastal areas from southern Alaska to Mexico, and on inland lakes, particularly in the southern portion of its range. Although the species has benefited from the creation of reservoirs and other wetlands, loss of natural wetlands and extensive hunting certainly led to historical declines in their populations. The Western Grebe was classified a “climate endangered” species, as modeling results predicted a loss of 96% of the species’ current summer habitat by the year 2080 (Langham et al. Mexican populations of both Western and Clark's grebes may be declining as cutting of tules on lakes removes nesting habitat. Sibley, D. A. Most conspicuous is a display in which two (or more) irds rear up to upright posture and rush across surface of water side by side, with loud pattering of feet, diving underwater at end of rush; other displays include "dancing" on water with bits of weed held in bill. 2016, Birds of Montana. When studying a grebe and trying to decide if it is a Clark's or western bird, there are a number of clues that can help distinguish each species. Western Grebe’s main courtship “ceremonies” have become emblematic examples of bird courtship. At 22-29 inches long, the Western Grebe is the largest of all North American grebes. The Western Grebe is the largest North American member of the grebe family. METHODS Study area Data on Western Grebe abundance were collected on 43 lakes at which the species was known to occur within the past 40 years in Alberta’s Boreal Forest, Parkland, and Grassland regions (Fig. suggesting different implications for Western Grebe habitat conservation. METHODS Study area Data on Western Grebe abundance were collected on 43 lakes at which the species was known to occur within the past 40 years in Alberta’s Boreal Forest, Parkland, and Grassland regions (Fig. Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis. It is commonly seen in the Refuge throughout the year, although less common in summer. During migration Western Grebes fly in loose flocks but spread out to feed during the day. On very large lakes, colonies may number in the hundreds of pairs. The female is smaller and the bill on the female is much thinner and shorter (Storer and Nuechterlein 1992). It usually stays on prairie lakes in British Columbia and California, and sometimes as far down as Mexico. Habitat selection and food habits. Clark's grebe is very similar in plumage, habitat, and behavior to the western grebe. Much of the grebe nesting habitat in the Columbia Plateau is tied to reservoirs that are directly influenced by surrounding water use. Now an Audubon chapter is fighting back to ensure that birds and locals get all the hydration they need. Patch of bare yellow skin on head of young turns scarlet when young beg for food or are separated from parents. Females bring wet material such as algae to bind the nest and form the central depression. During migration, they stop mainly on large lakes, but sometimes also use sloughs and river backwaters. The largest known Western grebe nesting colonies in Washington are primarily associated with Potholes Reservoir, the hub of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Other names for this species include “swan grebe”, “dabchick” and “swan-necked grebe”. Each parent has a role in raising the young, which are often seen riding on the adults’ backs. Water depth below the nest is usually less than a foot, and most nest sites are sheltered from wave action. The western grebe is the largest North American grebe. Scientific Name(s): Aechmophorus occidentalis. Additional Sources of Information Related to "Birds" American Bird Conservancy; American Birding Association; American Ornithologists Union; Rushy lakes, sloughs; in winter, bays, ocean. Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures. Like other grebes, also eats feathers. 2). The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. a courtship show it shares with its shut relative, the Western Grebe—could make it look as if ballet dancers have taken to the water. National Audubon Society Clark's grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii) is a North American waterbird species in the grebe family. Clark's Grebe also have more extensive white on their flanks than a Western Grebe, and a brighter orange bill. It is 55–75 cm (22–30 in) long, weighs 795–2,000 g (1.753–4.409 lb) and measures 79–102 cm (31–40 in) across the wings. Western Grebes are highly gregarious at all seasons, nesting in colonies and wintering in flocks. Copulation behavior in Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark’'s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii). Summers mainly on fresh water lakes with large areas of both open water and marsh vegetation; rarely on tidal marshes. Possible aliases, alternative names and misspellings for Aechmophorus occidentalis. [Updated by COSEWIC– May. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Western Grebe are a medium-sized waterbird (22-30 in) with a long, white neck, a black head and back, and a white underside.They have a long, thin, yellow bill and red eyes.. Western Grebe nest in colonies on freshwater lakes and marshes in western Canada and the United States. The display concludes with a sudden dive. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Plain pale bluish, often stained brownish by sodden nest material. suggesting different implications for Western Grebe habitat conservation. Description: Western Grebes are large and long-necked. A. and A. S. Love. The western grebe, at just over 2 feet (0.6 m) in length, is the largest of the North American grebes. Summers mainly on fresh water lakes with large areas of both open water and marsh vegetation; rarely on tidal marshes. 2017. LaPorte, Nicholas, Robert W. Storer and Gary L. Nuechterlein. The Western Grebe is the largest member of the grebe family.