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Desert Wildlife -
Western GrebeAechmophorus occidentalis
This is the largest North American grebe 56-74 cm (22"-29") long. It is black-and-white, with a long, slender, swan-like neck and red eyes. It is easily confused with Clark's Grebe, which shares the same features, behavior and habitat, and hybirds are known.
The Western Grebe has black around the eyes and a straight greenish-yellow bill. The downy young of Western are grey.
Western Grebes nest in colonies of hundreds on large inland lakes, sometimes using coastal marshes, in western North America. It has a spectacular courtship displays; two birds will rear up and patter across the water's surface. Northern birds migrate west to coastal ocean in winter; birds in the southwest and Mexico may be permanent residents.
Photo: Western grebe - Saratoga Springs