Eared Grebe

Podiceps nigricolis

Eared Grebe


Eared grebe have two different appearances depending upon the season. In the winter they are grey and dirty white. In the summer mating season they are all black with gold tufts around their ears and reddish-brown coloured sides. They also have very bright red eyes that stand out against their black feathers.


Eared grebe are found in B.C., Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and the northern Great Plains of the US. Their habitat is ponds, lakes, and marshes that provide thick vegetation for making nests. These birds are never seen on land, preferring to swim or fly.


Eared grebe eat the many water insects, fish, molluscs, and amphibians in their habitat. Since these birds do not have good legs for walking on land and they can’t fly far distances they are great long distance swimmers and expert divers. They nest in large colonies or groups where there is enough vegetation to protect their nest site. They spend their winters in the United States.


A main threat to colonial nesters such as the eared grebe is human activity that disrupts the nesting sites causing a heating or cooling of the nest so that the eggs may fail to hatch. Pollution and development are other human threats to the species.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow



Photo: David Slater/Flickr