Bird Watcher's Digest: Home Bird Watcher's Digest Magazine Watching Backyard Birds Newsletter The Bird Watcher's Digest App Bird Watcher's Digest Nature Shop

Bird Identification

Loons and Grebes

Eared Grebe

Podiceps nigricollis L 12 ½" (32 cm)

Photo by Maslowski Wildlife Productions.

play song/call for an eared grebe

Eared grebes show almost no contrast on the breast and throat. That is because the area is dingy gray, only slightly lighter than the back, sides, upperparts, and back and sides of the neck. Eared grebes are overall plain gray birds. They do, however, have a distinct pale area on the rear of the face. It is often in a rounded, half-moon shape and sometimes extends to include more of the face and even the chin. The pale area is often a dingy white and lacks the high contrast evident on the horned grebe. The overall grayness of the face also reduces the contrast with the blackish crown, which comes down to and slightly below the eye on eared grebes. Eared grebes have slightly long, definitely thin bills that angle slightly upward.

An eared grebe in summer plumage has a black neck and yellowish “ears” on each side of its black head. The eared grebe is found mostly on lakes and ponds in the West, although it can be a rare eastern visitor.

The voice of an eared grebe is usually softer and less harsh than that of the horned grebe. Its song is a high, rising whistle—ooEEK or ooEEKa repeated.

You Might Like

Additional References Suggested by Google:

The Backyard Bird Watcher's Answer Guide

This booklet answers 101 of the most-often-asked questions about birds. Bird Watcher's Digest editor Bill Thompson, III has compiled material from the magazine's decades of answering questions, offering tips and solving problems for backyard bird watchers. Only $4.99 in our store!

An Identification Guide to Common Backyard Birds

This booklet is designed to introduce you to-and help you identify-many of the most common feeder birds in North America. For each species you will find a color photograph, notes about how to identify the species, a summary of its range and the times of year it is present, and general information about the food and the type of feeder it prefers. Only $4.99 in our store!

Thistle Sock Bird Feeder

Sock it to the birds! This Thistle Sock feeder attracts a variety of thistle-loving birds. Its quality nylon construction allows you to enjoy its visitors all season long. Very easy to use and clean. Only $5.00 in our store!

Identifying and Feeding Birds

This readable, friendly guide is intended for bird watchers and non-bird watchers alike—for anyone who wants to enjoy nature right in his or her own backyard. The longtime editor of Bird Watcher's Digest and author of numerous books on birds, Bill Thompson, III, has been feeding and watching birds for 40 years. He has tried everything, and he shares what he's learned so that readers can avoid the mistakes and skip right to successful bird feeding. Only $14.95 in our store!

Reduce Window Strikes With Featherguard

It has been estimated that as many as 975 million birds are killed each year in North America in collisions with glass windows and buildings. FeatherGuard is uniquely effective because it combines bright color, motion, and the birds' natural aversion to loose feathers. In nature loose feathers are often a sign that a bird has been killed by a predator. Try FeatherGuard today and make your windows safer for your wild birds. Only $7.50 in our store!

Announcing the Optics Annual 2014--a FREE eBook by BWD!