Eared Grebe: Small grebe with black upperparts, dark chestnut-brown flanks, white underparts. Head and neck are black, orange feathers on face. Eyes are red. Black legs and feet. Forages by diving and swimming underwater. Feeds on aquatic insects and crustaceans. Direct flight with rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Eared Grebe: Breeds from British Columbia, southern Manitoba and the Dakotas south to California and New Mexico. Spends winters on the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic (rare) coasts, and occasionally on open water in the interior southwest and Texas. Preferred habitats include marshy lakes and ponds; open bays and ocean during the winter.
The most abundant grebe in the world, the Eared Grebe occurs in greatest numbers on Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake in fall, where it doubles its weight in preparation for a nonstop flight to its wintering grounds in the southwestern United States and Mexico.
On cold, sunny mornings, it sunbathes by facing away from the sun and raising its rump, exposing dark underlying skin to light. This behavior may make the bird appear to have a distinctive "high-stern" profile.
For perhaps nine to ten months each year this species is flightless; this is the longest flightless period of any bird in the world capable of flight at all.
A group of grebes are collectively known as a "water dance" of grebes.