Conservation Status: USFWS Bird of Conservation Concern, IUCN Least Concern
Description: A long-necked diving bird, black on top and white underneath. Western Grebes have bright red eyes and olive-yellow, pointed bills. Their eyes are surrounded by black feathers, whereas the eyes of the closely-related Clark’s Grebe are surrounded by white feathers.
Play Western Grebe call:
Where to find them: Western Grebes are truly waterbirds, rarely setting foot on ground. Look for them along the Pacific Coast, all the way down Baja California Sur, in the Gulf of California, and on inland bodies of water across the western United States and parts of Mexico.
- Western Grebes are specially adapted to life on the water. They have flat leg bones and lobed toes that help them swim and dive effectively.
- During the mating season, these grebes perform elaborate courtship dances where they present each other with reeds and run across the surface of the water – an action called “rushing”.
- Western Grebe parents carry their young on their backs.
- Bird Rescue’s original logo featured a Western Grebe.
- Western Grebe chicks need to be fed about every 30 minutes when growing up in care
- Western Grebes were one of Bird Rescue founder Alice Berkner’s favorite birds.
Threats: Oil Spills, Crash Landing, Water Overuse
How YOU can Help:
Keep an eye out for injured or oiled grebes! One way to know if a grebe needs help is if you see them just sitting on the beach or shore. They do not come on land unless they are in trouble, so if you see one laying on the ground, contact your local wildlife rescue!
Audio clip from www.xeno-canto.com Recorded by Thomas G. Graves XC527697