Western Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Western Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Western Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Western Grebe - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Western Grebe
Aechmophorus occidentalis

Diving Birds
Grebe Family (Podicipedidae)

Size: Length: 50-60 cm

Description: By far the largest grebe, the western grebe is also easy to identify. The head is divided between a dark forehead, crown, nape and back of neck and a white throat, cheek front of neck and breast. The eye is red and the beak yellow. The back and sides are gray-brown. In flight, look for white scapulars, present on most grebes.

Similar Species: None

Range: While it is a common nester within the central US Rockies, it can be spotted throughout the Canadian and American Rockies during spring and fall migrations.

Habitat: It nests in shallow, freshwater lakes with plenty of emergent vegetation.

Diet: It is a strong swimmer, diving for small fish, invertebrates and amphibians. It may also collect insects and other foods from on or near the surface.

Nesting: Unlike other grebes, the western grebe is very social, and numerous nesting pairs may live side by side. They build a nest of marsh plants either on land, or floating and attached to reeds. They lay 3-4 greenish or buff eggs. Incubation is by both parents and the eggs hatch after 23 days. The precocial nestlings leave the nest soon after, hitching a ride on their parents back until strong enough to swim on their own.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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