Horned Grebe

(Podiceps auritus)

Conservation Status
Horned Grebe
Photo by Laurie Wachholz
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

S2B - Imperiled Breeding



In 1984, the Horned Grebe was designated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources a special concern species. In 1994 it was reclassified as threatened, and in 2013 it was reclassified as endangered.

Species in Greatest Conservation Need


In the summer the back is black, the flanks and the front of the neck are reddish-brown, the head and cheeks are black, and there are conspicuous yellowish-gold “ear” tufts. The top of the head is flat, not crested. In the winter the “ear” tufts are absent and the underparts, the front of the neck, and the cheeks are white.




12 to 15in length

18 wingspan






Similar Species

  Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) top of the head is crested. In the summer the front of the neck is black. In the winter cheek is black.  

Breeding: Shallow weedy bays and inlets of large bodies of water

Migration: Wetlands and large lakes




Mid-March to early June and mid-August to mid-December








In the summer aquatic insects, crustaceans, small fish, and sometimes amphibians and leeches. In the winter crustaceans and small fish




Common migrant in the spring, uncommon migrant in the fall, rare breeder




The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

  Class Aves (birds)  


Podicipediformes (grebes)  


Podicipedidae (grebes)  


Podiceps (typical grebes)  

Subordinate Taxa


Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus auritus)

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus cornutus)















Visitor Photos

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Laurie Wachholz
  Horned Grebe    
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos




  Horned Grebe
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Horned Grebe  
  Horned Grebe
Ed McVicker
  Horned Grebe  
  Horned Grebe
JMC Nature Photos
  Horned Grebe  
  Daily Bird 006 - Podiceps auritus

Uploaded on Jun 6, 2010

Podiceps auritus.
It is a member of the grebe family of water birds. They breed in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe and Asia. It also breeds in remote inland parts of the United States and much of Canada. Most birds migrate in winter to the coast. During this time, this small grebe is mainly white with a sharply defined black cap.

Adult description: summer
Males have a black head with brown puffy earlike tufts along the sides of its face.
Deep red neck.
Scarlet eyes.
A small, straight black bill tipped with white.
Rides high in the water.





Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Horned Grebes (Podiceps auritus ) fishing in Saganashkee Slough illinois
Stoil Ivanov

Uploaded on Mar 30, 2010

Horned Grebes fishing in Saganashkee Slough.3-30-2010.

  Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
Kevin Cavallin

Uploaded on Apr 24, 2011

Looking for migratory birds today, I found this guy swimming around in the lake.

  Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)

Published on Sep 15, 2013

While watching this family of horned grebes, I saw a behaviour I had heard of but never seen before. The adult female plucks one of her feathers and feeds it to a chick.

  Amazing Yukon - Grebe Family

Published on Jul 4, 2013

This summer I am filming a pair of horned grebes who live on a little lake close to where I live. Over the last month and a half I have filmed them build nests, chase off competing birds, establish a territory, lay eggs, take turns incubating the eggs and now finally they have hatched, five little babies in all. I plan on editing all the footage this winter, it will give a rare glimpse into the private life of this little known bird. The babies are so beautiful and cute at this age of only a few days old, I could not help making this little video ahead of time :)

This beautiful song by Shane Jackman is perfect because in this video it is dad who is carrying the babies and mom is on collecting baby food duty. They share parental duties equally, although one reason why dad is so ratty looking is because he spends a lot of his time chasing off any other waterfowl who dare to enter his territory, which is most of the lake. There is another pair of grebes at the far end of the lake, but you hardly even know they are there, they keep a very low profile so as not to be noticed by my feisty little male :)

Music by Shane Jackman (Moonsong) licensed from Magnatune/iLicensemusic

  Slavonian (Horned) Grebe (Podiceps auritus) incubation shift
Espen Bergersen

Uploaded on Jun 28, 2010

In Harstad, Northern Norway, a pair of Slavonian Grebes are shearing their responsibility for incubating their eggs. At least 4 eggs are present in the floating nest.




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