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Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii


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Clark's Grebe
credit: Calibas/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Podicipedidae, Grebes view all from this family

Description ADULT In summer, has dark gray upperparts (slightly paler than Western) and white underparts; demarcation between these is most striking on head and neck. Black cap does not encompass beady red eye, which is surrounded by white. In winter, plumage is similarly black and white overall, but black cap extends to eye-level behind eye; lores are whitish (very dark gray in Western). JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but duller and paler overall.

Dimensions Length: 22-29" (56-74 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common, but generally less numerous than Western. Found on freshwater lakes in summer, but mainly on Pacific coast in winter.

Observation Tips Courtship display is fascinating to watch. Scan flocks of Western Grebes in winter to find the occasional Clark's.

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northwest, California, Plains

Voice Utters a slurred, shrieking kree-eet.

Discussion Superficially very similar to Western Grebe and once considered conspecific. Subtle differences in bill color and extent of black cap enable separation: see description of Western for specific differences. Somewhat gregarious outside breeding season and sometimes consorts with Western. Sexes are similar.