Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pied-Billed Grebe

The most distinctive feature of the pied-billed grebe is a short chicken-like bill which is circled by a black band (like a rubber band holding the bill closed) during the summer. Pied means two or more colors and refers to the black band on the bill. Because this was winter (January) the black band is absent. They are also known as dabchicks, water witches, devil-divers, hell-divers and thick-billed grebes. As the name indicates, they dive a lot, preferring to dive than fly from danger. They can dive as deep as 20 feet and generally do so for about 30 seconds at a time. 
Pied-billed grebe at Merritt Island NWR in Florida

Pied-billed grebes at J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR on Sanibel Island, Florida

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