Clark's Grebe

The appearance of the Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii) differs from the Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) primarily in the white of the face extending above the eye and onto the lores…

Clark's Grebe

and its bright orange, slightly upturned bill (above), compared to the Western’s straight yellowish-green bill (below). Click on photos for full sized images.

Western Grebe

Until the 1980’s, the Clark’s Grebe was considered a color morph of the Western Grebe.

Clark's Grebe

They nest on large inland lakes in western North America and migrate to the Pacific coast in winter, however they maintain local populations year-round in California.

Clark's Grebe Range Map

Here in Northern California, Clear Lake is one of the four lakes that support 76% of the total number of nesting grebes in the state1.

Grebe Colony at Clear Lake, California

Here is a photo of their nest which is built by the male and female, of material brought from under water, the surface, or emergent vegetation, usually near the nest. They normally lay 3 to 4 eggs per clutch.

Clark's Grebe Nest

Their courtship behavior begins during Spring migration and includes the incredible “rush” display where the pair literally run across the top of the water. What a great bird!

References: Audubon California1

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.