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Grebes ( Podicipedidae ) By: Kristina Best Wetland Wildlife Management Eastern Kentucky University Taxonomy of Grebes Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Podicipediformes Family: Podicipedidae Genus: Podilymbus or Podiceps

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grebes podicipedidae

Grebes( Podicipedidae )

By: Kristina Best

Wetland Wildlife Management

Eastern Kentucky University

taxonomy of grebes
Taxonomy of Grebes
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Podicipediformes
  • Family: Podicipedidae
  • Genus: Podilymbus or Podiceps
the history of grebes
The History of Grebes
  • Grebes have been around for at least 80 million years.
  • Many fossils have been found: Very successful species.
  • Not closely related to any other birds.
in general
In General
  • Diving Birds
  • Legs set back on body
  • Toes with three lobes for swimming
  • Spend most of time in water and are very awkward on land
  • Many have not been studied extensively
  • Very diverse and interesting
in general5
In General
  • Distributed throughout the world
  • Absent from the arctic, antarctic, and some islands in the ocean
  • Grebes have one family (Podicipedidae), six genera, and 22 species
  • They leave the water only to nest, walking very short distances upright like penguins.
grebe toes
Grebe Toes
  • Grebes Have three asymmetrically lobed toes that are thought to aid in swimming.
  • Adds lift and increases energy efficiency.
  • The toes being separate increases lift to drag ratio.
  • (Johansson and Norberg 2000)
grebe diving
Grebe Diving
  • Feathers are dense and water proof
  • On underside, feathers are at right angles to the skin.
  • They stick straight out and then curl at the tip.
  • By pressing feathers against the body, grebes can adjust their buoyancy.
  • This allows them to swim in the water with only their heads above the water.
  • They will often do this to hide instead of flying away.
pied billed grebe podilymbus podiceps
Pied-Billed GrebePodilymbus podiceps
  • 9-12 inches long
  • Sexes similar
  • Small grebe with a short, thick bill
  • Brown plumage that is darker on back
  • May or may not have a black ring around bill
  • White coverts under the tail
pied billed grebe
Pied Billed Grebe
  • Lives in fresh water, but will go to salt water in the winter when ponds and lakes freeze
  • Breeds in open water
  • Seasonally monogamous
  • Construct floating nests connected to vegitation
  • 2 to 10 pale bluish or greenish eggs
  • incubated by both parents
  • 23 days until hatch
pied billed grebe12
Pied-Billed Grebe
  • Chicks will ride on parents back or cling to tail, although they can swim right after hatching
  • Eat mostly aquatic invertebrates
  • Sometimes eat fish, small reptiles, and amphibians
horned grebe podiceps nigricollis
Horned GrebePodiceps nigricollis
  • 12-15 inches long
  • Short pointed bill
  • Sexes similar
  • Short, thin, black bill with pale tip
  • Breeding: Head black with gold strip going from back of eye to back of head. Reddish neck, dark back, and white belly.
  • Winter: Black cap, hind-neck, and back.White face, fore-neck, and belly.
horned grebe
Horned Grebe
  • Breeds on marshes and lakes
  • Winters on saltwater and lakes that do not freeze
  • 4-7 bluish white eggs
  • Incubation 22-25 days
  • 45-60 days till fledge
  • Young can swim after hatching
  • Ride on parents back
horned grebe17
Horned Grebe
  • Eat mainly fish and aquatic invertebrates
  • Swallow own feathers which lodge in stomach and prevent fish bones from interring intestines
  • Rarely seen at night. Once on wintering grounds they seldom fly
  • Migrate at night
eared grebe podiceps nigricollis
Eared GrebePodiceps nigricollis
  • 12 inches long with a 23 inch wingspan
  • Short, thin, black bill with no pale area
  • Sexes similar
  • Breeding: Black head with a golden ray of feathers behind eye. Black neck and back with reddish sides.
  • Winter: Gray/white neck and chin. Dark body with whitish sides.
red necked grebe podiceps grisegena
Red-necked Grebe(Podiceps grisegena)
  • 18-20 inches
  • has red neck, black cap, whitish cheeks, and long, pointed yellowish bill.
  • In winter, grey with paler cheeks and bill
western grebe
Western Grebe
  • 18 inches long with a 40 inch wing span
  • Long neck and long, yellow-green bill
  • Black crown, nape, and dark body
  • White neck and belly
key to the grebes
Key to the Grebes
  • Overall size?    = Robin-sized       Bill shape?           = short & thick .... Pied-billed Grebe           = thin bill              Eye color?                  =   yellow....  Least Grebe                  =   red                      Season?                         = summer                            Golden tuft?                                = horns like an expanding eyebrow....  Horned Grebe                                = ears fanning out behind eye....  Eared Grebe                         = winter                            Face?                                = black cap above eye, white face below eye....  Horned Grebe                                = black face with white U-shaped crescent along lower edge... Eared Grebe   = Mallard-sized      Neck color?          = red-fronted in summer or mottled gray in winter.... Red-necked Grebe          = black & white, sharply defined edges              Eye background?                  =   white around eye....  Clark's Grebe                  =   black around eye....  Western Grebe
management practices
Management Practices
  • Control sedimentation, pollution, and water levels
  • Develop or maintain wetlands
  • Don’t let livestock in or on bank of stream or wetland
  • Control predators: Wild dogs
  • Restrict human disturbance during migration, breeding, and nesting
  • Maintain good vegetation for breeding

Avoid installation of channels and dams

Avoid dredging

Control the use of herbicide, pesticide, and insecticide