© Bert Frenz, 1999
In the Brazos Valley, we typically have three grebe species and an accidental occurrence of a fourth. If we include all of Texas, then the species possibilities climb to seven. For some of these, species identification can be tricky, particularly in winter. Pied-billed Grebes are numerous throughout the Brazos Valley in winter and a few breed here in summer. Best birding spots to see migrant or wintering Eared and Horned Grebes are: Alcoa Lake, Lake Bryan, Lake Somerville and Gibbons Creek Reservoir.
= short & thick .... Pied-billed Grebe
= thin bill
= yellow.... Least Grebe
= horns like an expanding eyebrow.... Horned Grebe
= ears fanning out behind eye.... Eared Grebe
= black cap above eye, white face below eye.... Horned Grebe
= black face with white U-shaped crescent along lower edge... Eared Grebe
= red-fronted in summer or mottled gray in winter.... Red-necked Grebe
= black & white, sharply defined edges
= white around eye.... Clark's Grebe
= black around eye.... Western Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe - ringed bill except in winter; short neck; big head; black chin in summer; white chin in winter; often submerges by deflating air sacs or somersault dives.
Least Grebe - very small grebe; short neck; white throat; black crown; regular in south Texas.
Horned Grebe - bill thicker than Eared; narrow black line down back of neck in winter; pale spot in front of eye; flatter crown than Eared.
Eared Grebe - neck darker than Horned in winter; peaked crown; floats higher in water than Horned, showing white fluffy undertail coverts.
Red-necked Grebe - medium-sized grebe; in summer, red throat contrasts with white face; in winter, dark face with white crescent; thick, tapered bill; angular head, except 1st winter.
Clark's Grebe - mottled sides mostly white; yellow-orange bill.
Western Grebe - mottled sides mostly dark; straw-yellow bill.
(Click on each of picture icons)