Horned Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Horned Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Horned Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Horned Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Horned Grebe
Podiceps auritus

Diving Birds
Grebe Family (Podicipedidae)

Size: Length: 30-38 cm

Description: Smaller, but as distinctive as the larger red-necked grebe, the horned grebe is easy to identify in its breeding plumage. Both sexes have a dark head and bill with the exception of a brilliant rust or orange coloured crest running through the bright red eye and extending beyond the back of the head. The front of the neck, and lower surface is rusty, while the back of the neck, and wings and back are dark, almost black.

Like most grebes, their feet are located far back on their bodies, with lobed toes. This combination makes for an excellent swimmer, but a poor walker. As a result, they spend very little time on land. To take flight, they need a log aquatic runway and are unable to take off from land.

Similar Species: The eared grebe has a similar reddish-orange crest, but is a much darker bird. Eared grebes lack the rust coloured front surface to the neck and breast.

Range: The horned grebe is an occasional nester in the Canadian and northern US Rockies. It can be seen migrating through both the Canadian and American Rockies.

Habitat: Like most grebes, the horned grebe prefers shallow marshes, freshwater ponds or slow rivers. They also want emergent rushes or other aquatic vegetation.

Diet: They use their powerful legs to dive for small fish, invertebrates, amphibians and other small crustaceans. Favourite invertebrates from one study include water boatman, beetles and dragonfly and damselfly nymphs.

Nesting: They build a platform of aquatic vegetation, often floating, and anchor it to local reeds. They lay an average of 3 or 4 eggs, but clutches may be as large as 10. Both parents incubate the eggs and assist in the care of the precocial young.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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