South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Clark's Grebe

Aechmophorus clarkii

Length: 24 - 28 inches Wingspan: 32 - 40 inches Seasonality: Summer / Migrant
ID Keys: Long orange-yellow bill, black cap doesn't extend below eye (summer), long slender neck

Clark's Grebe - Aechmophorus clarkii

The Clark's Grebe is identical in size and shape to the Western Grebe, and was once considered to be a lighter morph of that species.  Bill colors are slightly different, and the Clark's Grebe has white both above and below the eye.  Note that in winter, facial patterns are nearly identical for both species, making identification much more difficult.

Habitat: Sloughs and shallow lakes with emergent vegetation. 

Diet: Mostly fish in all seasons. Occasionally eats insects, crustaceans, and salamanders.  

Behavior: Forages by diving underwater and pursuing prey, propelled by its feet. 

Nesting: June and July

Breeding Map: Breeding Bird Survey map

Song: Ascending kreee-EEEEK

Migration: Summers through much of the western U.S.  Winters along West Coast, Mexican coast, and selected locations in the American Southwest. 

Similar Species: Western Grebe.  See ID Key's for Clark's vs. Western Grebe.

Status: Numbers appear to be stable, and possibly expanding eastward.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Clark's Grebe

2) eNature.com: Clark's Grebe

3) Whatbird.com: Clark's Grebe

Photo Information: June 19th, 2008 - Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, California - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Clark's Grebe photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Clark's Grebe - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Rare migrant and summer resident.  South Dakota status not well understood, given recent species split from Western Grebe.