Amaze-wing Facts About The Grebe For Kids

One of the best western grebe facts is that the western grebe is the largest of the North American grebes.

Grebe birds are a widely spread species found in freshwater lakes in different parts of North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, western Asia, Central Asia, and some parts of North America. They are aquatic diving birds from the family order Podicipediformes which includes more than 26 species. Western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) birds are small to medium-large in size and are excellent swimmers and divers due to their lobed feet. Some grebe species find it difficult to walk but they all are very good swimmers.

Depending on their habitat, a grebe may have either a long or short bill. If they have to catch and eat insects from the water, their bill and neck will be short but if they eat big animals such as crabs then their bill, head, and neck will be longer. You can find grebes in many different colors, such as brown, white, red, and orange, and in spring and summer grebes usually develop orange crests on the surface of their head.

Discover facts about many different grebes here, including Alaotra grebe facts, eared grebe facts, pied-billed grebe facts, and more. And, to learn more about other animals, check out our Prairie chicken and duck facts.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

4-7 eggs

How much do they weigh?

4.6-8.3 oz (130-236 g)

How long are they?

15.7-17.7 in (40-45 cm)

How tall are they?

9.1-11.4 in (23-29 cm)

What do they look like?

Small water birds with a pointed bill

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans and other predators

What is their conservation status?

Not Extinct

Where you'll find them

Temperate and tropical regions


Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania





Scientific Name

Tachybaptus ruficollis





Grebe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a grebe?

A grebe is a freshwater lake bird that belongs to the order Podicipediformes.

What class of animal does a grebe belong to?

Grebes are Aves. Aves are birds that are characterized by their feathers and wings.  

How many grebes are there in the world?

The exact number of grebes around the globe isn't known, but we do know that there are almost 26 different species of grebes!

Where does a grebe live?

Grebes are found in four out of the seven continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. They are also found in some parts of North America.

What is a grebe's habitat?

Grebes are a diurnal species of birds, which means that most of them can live both in aquatic habitats and on land. They are usually found near lakes with large surface areas.  

Who do grebes live with?

These birds are known to be pretty shy in nature but you can sometimes see them having fun with other members of their pack, normally made up of between 10-30 birds.

How long does a grebe live?

The lifespan of a grebe bird is between 10-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Grebes are monogamous in nature so they will mate with only one partner throughout their entire lifetime. As they struggle to walk on land, they make their nests near the lake's edge. Females lay seven to eight eggs which are incubated by both parents for 20-25 days.

What is their conservation status?

Although this varies among the different species, many grebes are listed as Not Extinct by the IUCN.

Grebe Fun Facts

What do grebes look like?

They are small to medium-large in size and have bills and lobed feet. Their feet are at the back of the body, making it difficult for them to walk or run on land. They have a strong head, a neck, and a pair of wings which they use for diving, catching fish, and taking flight. Some species of grebes are reluctant to fly, and they use their wings to help them when diving underwater. They also have different kinds of bills depending on the species. Western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) birds can be found in a range of colors, such as brown, white, red, and orange.

Western grebe birds are known for having a yellow bill and red eyes.

How cute are they?

We think that grebe birds are pretty cute with their colorful head, large bill, and strong, long neck.

How do they communicate?

One specific sound they make sounds like a loud whining trill. They also make 'bee-eep' calls.

How big is a grebe?

Western grebe birds are quite small when compared to other bird species who live on the water's surface, although their head and neck are both quite long and large.

How fast can a grebe fly?

Some grebes are flightless, but those who can fly do so at a good speed, using their long and powerful wings.

How much does a grebe weigh?

There are many types of grebe: the western grebe, the eared grebe, the Alaotra grebe, the pied billed grebe, the horned grebe, and the North American grebe. They all tend to weigh between 4.6-8.3 oz (130-236 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for males and females.

What would you call a baby grebe?

A baby grebe is sometimes known as a 'grebette'.

What do they eat?

Grebes are carnivores but can also be classed as insectivore or piscivore birds, depending on what they get to eat. Their diet consists of insects, small fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and amphibians.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not particularly dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these birds are not meant to be kept in closed places or in homes. They thrive on the surface of freshwater lakes in the wild.

Did you know...

Did you know that there are two species of grebe that cannot fly at all?

One of the best great crested grebe facts is that these grebes take part in a mating display in which the male and female both have to raise their chest above the water. They then rub each other's chests with plants found in the water, using their long bills. This is done during the breeding and mating period.

Grebes are similar to ducks, but they are not technically ducks themselves. They are best described as 'duck-like'.

The name of this bird is pronounced 'greeb'.

Different types of grebe

There are almost 26 species of grebe birds, from North American grebes to western grebes and many more. They all differ slightly in looks (particularly in regards to the head or neck) and behavior.

How deep can grebes dive?

Grebes can dive up to 65.6-98.4 ft (20-30 m), depending on whether they are hunting under the water of the lakes or are just swimming along the surface of lakes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the yellow-billed cuckoo, or owls.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Little Grebe coloring pages.



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