10 Fascinating Facts About the Pied-billed Grebe

Birdorable Pied-billed Grebe

Dive into the intriguing world of the Pied-billed Grebe, a fascinating bird that might not grab headlines but certainly deserves a moment in the spotlight. Here are 10 captivating facts about this modest avian marvel:

  1. Pied-billed Grebes are Excellent Swimmers: These birds are adapted to life in the water, using their lobed feet to propel themselves with ease when diving for fish and insects.

  2. Their Bills Change Color: In the breeding season, the bill of the Pied-billed Grebe turns a distinctive white with a black band, earning them their "pied" name.

  3. Grebes Sink to Escape Danger: Unlike most birds that take flight, Pied-billed Grebes can sink quietly into the water to avoid predators, disappearing without a trace.

  4. They are Poor Flyers: While capable of flight, Pied-billed Grebes are rarely seen doing so. Their strong legs are set far back on their body, making takeoffs awkward and landings splashy.

  5. Pied-billed Grebes are Solitary Birds: Outside of breeding season, they prefer to keep to themselves, often seen alone on ponds and lakes.

  6. Their Vocalizations are Unique: The calls of Pied-billed Grebes include a series of loud, cuckoo-like calls and a strange, pumping noise.

  7. Baby Grebes Can Swim at Birth: Almost immediately after hatching, Pied-billed Grebe chicks are in the water, swimming under the watchful eyes of their parents.

  8. They Eat Their Own Feathers: Both adults and chicks consume feathers, which help prevent injury from fish bones and form a plug in the stomach to trap and digest bones more efficiently.

  9. Pied-billed Grebes Build Floating Nests: Their nests are anchored to plants in the water, providing safety from predators and rising water levels.

  10. They Have a Wide Range: Pied-billed Grebes can be found across the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, adapting to various freshwater habitats.

The Pied-billed Grebe might not be as flashy as some of its avian counterparts, but its unique characteristics and behaviors make it a remarkable species worthy of attention and admiration. Whether you're a seasoned birdwatcher or new to the avian world, keeping an eye out for these intriguing creatures can add an exciting element to your next outdoor adventure.

Pied-billed Grebe by Susan Young (public domain)

Cute Pied-billed Grebe Gifts


Ashira on December 18, 2010 at 1:18 PM wrote:
That juvenile plumage is simply smashing! I think there should be a grebe that looks like that for its entire life. :3
Ebony Durrah on April 27, 2016 at 12:34 PM wrote:
They are so cute and awesome.
Gene Swift on October 26, 2016 at 6:20 PM wrote:
I live on a marsh, in Michigan and had been unable to identify the :laughing hyena" that resided there. After 5 years of wondering, a grebe, swimming just 20 feet away, called-out and solved my "Denizen of the Swamp mystery." We have three pairs and we love watching them daily from March through November.
Jaxson avila on May 8, 2021 at 2:57 AM wrote:
Thanks for the info i need it for a school project!
Spurwing Plover on May 8, 2022 at 7:14 AM wrote:
Also called Hellerdiver

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