The Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) is a medium-sized waterbird found in the Northern Hemisphere. They measure around 15 to 19 inches (38 to 48 cm) in length and have a wingspan of 22 to 27 inches (56 to 69 cm). Adult birds weigh between 1.5 to 2.8 pounds (680 to 1270 grams). These birds are known for their unique appearance and behavior.
One of the most distinguishing field marks of the Red-necked Grebe is their striking red neck and breast during breeding season. Their heads are black, and their eyes are bright red. In contrast, their back and wings are a dark greyish-brown color, and their underparts are white. Outside of breeding season, their plumage is more muted, and they lose their red necks. They have a pointed bill and yellow eyes.
Red-necked Grebes are migratory birds, breeding in northern regions of North America, Europe, and Asia, and wintering in southern coastal areas. They typically migrate in flocks, flying long distances over water. During migration, they are commonly spotted in inland waters and coastal bays. In North America, they breed in Alaska and Canada, while in Europe, they breed in Iceland, Greenland, and Scandinavia.
These birds are often seen swimming on open water, diving to catch fish, insects, and crustaceans. They are excellent swimmers and divers, and they can remain underwater for up to a minute. During courtship displays, Red-necked Grebes engage in elaborate behavior, such as head-shaking and presenting gifts of underwater vegetation to their mates. They build floating nests in shallow water, and both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young.
Overall, the Red-necked Grebe is a beautiful and fascinating waterbird that is a delight to observe in their natural habitat. Their striking appearance and unique behavior make them a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.