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Clark's Grebe - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Andys56
Bear River Bird Refuge, Utah, USA, 31 May 2015
Aechmophorus clarkii


Adult Breeding

  • Dark grey-brown above
  • Flanks barred grey-brown
  • Underparts white
  • Head and hindneck blackish
    • Contrast sharply with white of face and foreneck
  • Black cap usually does not reach eye level
  • Red iris
  • Dark bill with orange-yellow sides
  • Greyish legs

Adult Non-breeding & Juvenile

Similar, but duller and paler showing less contrast between dark and light plumage.

Similar Species

Only likely to be confused with Western Grebe. Best distinguishing features are white above eye and bill colour.


Shows more extensive white wing-bar than Western Grebe.


Map-Clark's Grebe.png
Southern parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and in the western USA in from eastern Oregon to Montana and North Dakota and south to California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and northern New Mexico. Also breeds in central Mexico.

Much less common than Western in north and east of range.

A summer visitor to most of range except California and Mexico where resident. Winter range lies from central California south into Mexico, in New Mexico and west Texas and on the Gulf Coast of Texas.


 A. clarkii; year-round
 A. clarkii; breeding
 A. clarkii; migrating
 A. clarkii; wintering
Maps/Texts consulted1,2,3


Only recently separated from Western Grebe (A. occidentalis) and the exact ranges of the two forms have yet to be elucidated.


There are 2 subspecies[4]:

  • A. c. clarkii:
  • A. c. transitionalis:
  • Coastal western Mexico (Nayarit) and Mexican plateau


Breeds on large freshwater lakes and winters on large inland freshwaters or on esturies, bays and sheltered seas.



Breeding begins mid-May in south of range to early June in north. Breeds in large colonies, nest is a heap of vegetation anchored to emergent plants or on the bottom in shallower water. Eggs: 3-4, whitish with green or buff tinge initially, soon becoming stained (59 x 38mm). Incubated by both sexes for 23 days. Young tended by both sexes and leave nest on hatching.


Fish and aquatic invertebrates.


A harsh single note "kreek".


  1. Sibley, DA. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0679451228
  2. Brinkley, ES. 2007. Field Guide to Birds of North America. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 978-1402738746
  3. Howell, SNG and S Webb. 1995. A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0198540120
  4. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/Clements%206.5.xls/view

Recommended Citation

External Links:

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.