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Silvery Grebe - BirdForum Opus

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Subspecies occipitalis
Photo © by rdavis
Saunder's Island, Falkland Islands, January 2011
Podiceps occipitalis


L. 28cm: A small South American grebe with distinctive breeding plumage.
Adult breeding: Dark grey-brown above, white below with black streaking on flanks. Crown grey with nape and hindneck black, forehead and ear-coverts soft grey and throat and foreneck white. Tuft of long dull yellow plumes on each side of head behind eye drooping down over ear-coverts.
Adult non-breeding: as breeding adult but lacks yellow plumes.

Similar Species

Distinguished from White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland by black nape patch and white foreneck.

Subspecies juninensis
Photo © by BirdsPeru
Milloc bog, Peru, at over 3000 m.a.s.l. November 2006


Western South America from Colombia and Ecuador south to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. Partial migrant.



Two subspecies recognised[1]:

  • P. o. juninensis:
  • P. o. occipitalis:

These differ in plumage as shown in the photos. Birds of Chile (Jaramillo, Burke and Beadle) proposes that the two forms are better seen as full species.

Subspecies occipitalis, Winter plumage
Photo © by Marcus Lawson
Potrerillos, Argentina


Mountain lakes, more coastal areas after breeding



Aquatic insects and their larvae, fish and small crustaceans.


They lay 2 bluish-white eggs in December in a floating nest made of aquatic vegetation.


Call: Clucking and twittering calls.

Subspecies juninensis, Winter plumage
Photo © by Marcus Lawson
Lauca National Park, Chile


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Birdforum discussion thread for Id and taxonomy of this species

Recommended Citation

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