The Eared Grebe, or Black-necked Grebe is the most abundant of the seven species in North America. It is a small bird with a slim neck and bill, mostly blackish-green with some side feathers of rust. Its startling looking eyes are red. In winter the Eared Grebe is similar to the the Horned Grebe, dark gray and white, but chunkier. Like other grebes, it injests feathers (it is thought) to protect its stomach from fish bones.
The Eared Grebe is a better swimmer than flyer, and usually migrates at night, so is seldom seen in the air.
Breeding occurs from British Columbia and Manitoba to the Dakotas and south to California and New Mexico. The Eared Grebse is very social and breeds in dense colonies.
Calls or song.
Courting birds make a repeated "poo-ee-chk' call. A threat call is a harsh, rapidly repeated chittering. Other calls include a soft whirring sound.
Population and distribution.
The Eared Grebe inhabits marshy lakes, ponds and open bogs. In winter it moves to bays and ocean on the Pacific Coast.
A very social creature, the Eared Grebe nests in dense colonies, and produces 3-5 bluish-white eggs, stained brown, on a floating mass of marsh vegetation.