The Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) is a small freshwater diving bird that is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. It is about 13 inches in length and weighs around 11 ounces. It has a distinctive black and white head, with a small black “horn” on the top of its head during breeding season. In non-breeding plumage, it has a dark crown and a white cheek patch. Its bill is short and pointed, and it has a black back and wings with white underparts.
Horned Grebes breed in freshwater lakes and ponds in the northern regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. During the winter months, they migrate to the coastal waters of North America and Europe. They can also be found in saltwater bays, estuaries, and inlets. They are often seen in large flocks during migration.
One of the distinguishing features of the Horned Grebe is its courtship display. During breeding season, the male will swim rapidly across the water’s surface, creating a series of splashes with its wings. It will also repeatedly dive underwater and resurface, showing off its distinctive “horns.” This display is designed to attract a mate.
Another distinguishing feature of the Horned Grebe is its vocalizations. They have a variety of calls, including a harsh croak, a series of yelps, and a soft trill. These calls are used for communication between mates and during aggressive interactions with other birds.
The Horned Grebe is an important bird species for conservation efforts. Their populations have been declining due to habitat loss and degradation, as well as pollution and disturbance from human activities. Efforts are underway to protect their breeding and wintering habitats, as well as to reduce pollution and disturbance in their environment. By protecting these birds, we can help ensure that future generations can enjoy their unique beauty and important role in our ecosystems.