The smallest of the Grebes found in the state, the Pied-billed Grebe is rarely
seen in flight. When disturbed or threatened, it prefers to slowly sink
and swim away underwater, or move away with just it's head above water. A
mature bird in breeding plumage is pictured at the right. Only mature
adults in breeding plumage show the dark ring on their bill. Photos of
juveniles and winter-plumaged adults can be seen by clicking on the photo links
at the bottom of the page.
Habitat: Ponds, lakes, marshes. Usually
areas with both heavy marsh vegetation and open water during breeding
season, more open water during migration and winter.
Diet: Nearly any small aquatic creature, including
fish, insects, frogs, salamanders, snails. Also small amounts of
Behavior: Foraging is done by diving and swimming
underwater in search of prey. Like many grebes, feathers are sometimes
eaten (for reasons that aren't completely understood).
Migration: South Dakota birds migrate in the fall,
but birds in the southern U.S. are permanent residents.
Similar Species: Quite distinctive from most other
Grebes, possibly confused with the Least Grebe.
Status: Widespread and common, but surveys show
declines in recent decades.
eNature.com: Pied-billed Grebe
WhatBird: Pied-billed Grebe
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Pied-billed Grebe photos.