The Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors has a black stripe on its beak and a black throat patch which makes them unique. This Pied-Billed Grebe’s call alerted me to its presence long before I saw it. I noticed the Pied-Billed Grebe in the middle of the pond with its beak open, revealing the source of the sound. They are small and chunky and have almost no tail. Pied-Billed Grebes typically dive for food, but they may also chase other birds during breeding season while keeping just their eyes and nostrils above water.
I was meandering around a Florida wetland and saw this Pied-Billed Grebe swimming in a circle with its wings aloft. He or she looked like he was dancing, but to his own silent music. Maybe it is a courtship ritual? The Pied-Billed Grebe has a black band on its bill during breeding season, but I didn’t notice another Grebe anywhere nearby!
The Pied-billed Grebe is a small brown bird that is part submarine. They are expert divers and use their “pied” bill to kill and eat fish, insects and frogs. Grebe means “feet at the buttocks” and their feet are near the rear of their body. They are very skillful underwater swimmers, but extremely awkward walkers. They need a very long “running and flapping” start on the water to take off in flight from the water. Pied-billed Grebes need a long runway for takeoff. I saw this Pied-billed Grebe running and flapping in Florida but have never seen one actually in flight!