Friday, July 22, 2011

Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis

All The Birds Of North America: Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis

Because of their skill in the water and inelegance on land, grebes were long thought to be related to loons. Despite their similar life-styles, however, the families are not related. In spring, Western Grebes perform an elaborate courtship display. Using their lobed feet like paddle wheels, the male and female race furiously, side by side, across the surface of the water, with their bodies nearly erect and their bills pointed skyward. A closely related species, Clark's Grebe (A. clarkii), has white on the face extending above the eye and a yellow bill.

Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis Identification: 20-24". Dark gray to blackish above, white below, with long, swanlike neck and black crown tuft; eyes red; bill long, straight, sharply pointed; dull greenish yellow.

Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis Voice: A loud, rolling crreee-crreee.

Habitat: Large lakes and inland marshes; coastal waters in winter.

Range: Breeds from ร. British Columbia and N. Alberta to ร. California and South Dakota. Winters along coast from N. British Columbia to Mexico.

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