My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Horned Grebe, Podiceps auritus

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Horned Grebe, Podiceps auritus

The Horned Grebe is a member of the grebe family of water birds. It is also known as the Slavonian Grebe. It is an excellent swimmer and diver, and pursues its fish prey underwater.

The Horned Grebe is a small grebe at 31–38 centimeters (12–15 in) long with a 46–55 centimeters (18–22 in) wingspan. Unmistakable in summer, the plumage of both male and female includes a black head with brown puffy ear like tufts along the sides of its face. It shows a deep red neck, scarlet eyes, and a small, straight black bill tipped with white. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I will ever see one in its summer plumage, as they breed far to the north of Michigan. They do winter here, and during this time, this small grebe is mainly white with a sharply defined black cap.

Horned Grebes breed in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe and Asia. It also breeds in remote inland parts of the United States and much of Canada. Most birds migrate in winter to the coast.

Like all grebes, it builds a nest on the water’s edge, since its legs are set very far back and it cannot walk well. Usually two eggs are laid, and the striped young are sometimes carried on the adult’s back.

On to my photos:

Horned Grebe, winter plumage

Horned Grebe, winter plumage

Horned Grebe, winter plumage

Horned Grebe, winter plumage

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

This is number 67 in my photo life list, only 283 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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5 responses

  1. I don’t think I’ve seen this one.

    March 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    • If you search for other photos of them, you’ll see that they look completely different in the summer.

      March 27, 2013 at 1:08 am

      • Interesting!

        March 27, 2013 at 6:13 am

  2. Awww, when I saw you brought up the horned grebe, I was hoping for one in full plumage. I figured for sure you would have captured one. Although great finds as they are rather shy.

    March 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    • Thanks, I have been holding off, hoping that they would at least start to show their breeding plumage, no luck.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:51 am