Sunday, December 19, 2021

Least Grebe

I saw a least grebe for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. Judy waited in the car while I hopped out to make a quick inspection of the Joan and Scott Hold Paradise Pond Birding Center in Port Aransas, Texas. The birding center is very tiny and sandwiched between a bunch of residences and behind the parking lot of a restaurant. It has a pond with two lobes heavily surrounded by cattails. A boardwalk provides some elevation and clear viewing. There were several of the grebes floating on the water and I new it was a new species to me and suspected they were grebes. 

I'd never heard of a least grebe before. That is partly because the only place they are found in the U.S. is southern Texas. Their distribution continues down into Mexico, Central America, portions of South America and the Caribbean Islands. 
Distribution map from Wikipedia. 
Another reason I would not have heard of them is they are very pedestrian looking: nothing flashy, just small and drab, the smallest member of the grebe family. 

The least grebe has a yellow eye, a small thin bill and often fluffs up its rear feathers to expose it black skin and absorb the solar radiation. Breeding birds are brownish gray above, have a blackish crown and throat and brownish chest with pale underparts. Non-breeding birds are paler with a white throat. 

1 comment:

  1. Are there greater grebes or greatest grebes? Are they flashier?