10 Facts About the Pied-billed Grebe

1. Although flighted, to escape danger, Pied-billed Grebes prefer to dive under water.

2. Migratory Pied-billed Grebes fly at night. They are strong fliers, but are thought to only take off from water, and they need a long "runway" prior to "take-off."

3. Male and female Pied-billed Grebes have similar plumage, but males are usually bigger and may have bigger, heavier bills than females.

4. The toes of Pied-billed Grebes are lobed rather than webbed.

Pied-billed Grebe-IMG_6053-Campbell-crop
Pied-billed Grebe-IMG_6053-Campbell-crop by gimlack

5. When the incubating female Pied-billed Grebe leaves the nest, she covers the eggs in order to conceal them from predators.

6. Chicks spend their first days after hatching on the back of a parent. The chicks leave the nest shortly after hatching, but are unskilled swimmers for the first week or so.

7. Baby Pied-billed Grebes have a wildly different plumage than their parents, especially on the face, which is striped in black, white, and reddish-brown.

Pied-billed Grebes
Pied-billed Grebes by Adam R. Paul

8. Pied-billed Grebes are known to eat their own feathers as a digestive aid.

9. Pied-billed Grebes have several folk names, including "water witch" and "hell-diver."

10. The Pied-billed Grebe is one of our Birdorable cute birds! The species was added to Birdorable on December 3rd, 2010.

Birdorable Pied-billed Grebe


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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