Birds Of Southern California

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

The pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a species of the grebe family of water birds. The pied-billed grebe is primarily found in ponds throughout the Americas. Pied-billed grebes are small, stocky, and short-necked. They are 31–38 cm (12–15 in) in length, with a wingspan of 45–62 cm (18–24 in) and weigh 253–568 g (8.9–20.0 oz). They are mainly brown, with a darker crown and back. Their brown color serves as camouflage in the marshes they live in. They do not have white under their wings when flying, like other grebes. Their undertail is white and they have a short, blunt chicken-like bill that is a light grey color, which in summer is encircled by a broad black band (hence the name). In the summer, its throat is black. There is no sexual dimorphism. Juveniles have black and white stripes and look more like winter adults. This grebe does not have webbed feet. Its toes have lobes that come out of the side of each toe. These lobes allow for easy paddling. When flying, the feet appear behind the body due to the feet's placement in the far back of the body. It may be confused with the least grebe, although that species is smaller and has a thinner bill. Pied-billed grebes are found in freshwater wetlands with emergent vegetation, such as cattails.[12] They are occasionally found in salt water. When breeding they are found in emergent vegetation near open water, and in the winter they are primarily found in open water due to the lack of nests to maintain. They may live near rivers, but prefer still water. They may be found in higher elevations when migrating.[13] They will breed in restored and man-made wetlands.[13] Pied-billed grebes live approximately 10–12 years. More at Wikipedia: