Horned Grebe: Small grebe, red-brown neck, breast and flanks, nearly black throat and back. Head has black cap, white face, conspicuous buff-orange to yellow ear plumes. Bill is dark with white tip, eyes are dark red. Feeds on aquatic insects, fish and crustaceans. Direct flight on rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Horned Grebe: Breeds from Alaska and northern Canada to Washington and Oregon, the Dakotas, and the Great Lakes. Winters in the Aleutians and along the Pacific coast to California, and along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to Texas. Breeds on prairie and freshwater lakes with both open waters and marsh vegetation; also nests in marshes, small sloughs, ponds, and occasionally on rivers.
The Horned Grebe regularly eats some of its own feathers, and its stomach usually contains a matted plug of them. This plug may function as a filter or may hold fish bones in the stomach until they can be digested.
Folk names of this bird include Devil-diver, hell-diver, pink-eyed diver, and water witch.
In Blackfeet lore, the trickster Old Man tricked several ducks into closing their eyes and dancing while he killed them one by one. The smallest duck looked and alerted the others. This "duck" was the Horned Grebe, who became the first to notice trouble.
A group of grebes are collectively known as a "water dance" of grebes.