Red-Necked Grebe Facts

To know more about this bird, read these Red-necked Grebe facts.

The Red-Necked Grebe, Podiceps grisegena as it is scientifically known, belongs to the Podicipedidae family. The Red-necked Grebe is an aquatic bird that can be found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and practices migration. Its range map includes parts of North America, Asia, and Europe. The habitat includes large lakes, and oceans in the winter season and in lakes and marshes during the summer. The Red-Necked Grebe, Podiceps grisegena as it scientifically known has different breeding and non-breeding or winter plumage. The non-breeding or winter plumage has a black cap on the head and the sides are gray and white stretching from the throat up toward the lower lateral sides of the head. The anterior part of the neck is white or light gray. During the breeding season, this plumage becomes lighter to pale gray including the black cap and the parts of the neck and breast become reddish-brown in color, and because of the red neck, they got the name. The adult and young look similar. This species breed every year and are seasonally monogamous. During copulation, the female keeps its head low and the male enter from behind and after copulation male tends to leave and reenter the water or lakes. This is a large grebe as compared to other grebes whose are loud, especially during the breeding season. If you want to know more about this larger and louder grebe species, keep reading! If you are interested, read about the Southern Cassowary and Shoebill too.

Red-Necked Grebe

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Crustaceans and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1.8-3.5 lb (0.8-1.6 kg)

How long are they?

16.9-22 in (430-560 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, gray

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Lakes and marshes


North America, Asia, and Europe





Scientific Name

Podiceps grisegena





Red-Necked Grebe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Red-necked Grebe?

The Red-Necked Grebe is an aquatic bird.

What class of animal does a Red-necked Grebe belong to?

Red-Necked Grebes belong to the class of Aves of birds.

How many Red-necked Grebes are there in the world?

There has been no specific number of these birds recorded.

Where does a Red-necked Grebe live?

The Red-Necked Grebe is found in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and its range map includes parts of North America, Asia, and Europe.

What is a Red-necked Grebe's habitat?

This bird is a water or aquatic bird and can be found in inland freshwater lakes, marshes, bays of larger lakes during the summer season and are found in rivers, large lakes, and ocean coastlines during the spring or the fall season. The most popular breeding habitat is fish ponds that provide enough food. This bird tends to show preferences for waters in forested areas as it favors abundant vegetation.

Who do Red-necked Grebes live with?

These birds can be solitary and also found in groups. Some members of this species form pairs during winters while others form pairs as soon as they get to the grounds.

How long does a Red-necked Grebe live?

Red-Necked Grebes are known to live for about five years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds breed every year and are seasonally monogamous. The courtship rituals of these birds consist of complex courtship displays. These grebes are loud and vocal as compared to other species. There exist breeding variations, in certain areas these birds or pairs of these birds isolate themselves and mate while in other areas, these birds tend to breed in colonies. At the time of copulation, the female's head is low and the male swims around from behind and hops or jumps with its wings closed and after copulation, the male leaves and reenters water.  

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these birds is Least Concern.

Red-Necked Grebe Fun Facts

What do Red-necked Grebes look like?

This is a large bird compared to other species of grebes. The bills of these birds are black in color and in some cases, the mandible is orangeish-yellow in color. The feet of this bird are lobed and the legs are laterally compressed. The plumages differ in the breeding and the winter season. In the winter, the head is black and the sides are gray and white stretching from the throat up toward the lower sides of the head. The anterior part of the neck is white or light gray. The color of the sides of the head becomes even lighter in the breeding season or the summer season and the lateral part of the breast and the neck is reddish-brown in color during this season and the other parts of the grebe remain similar. Males and females are similar but males tend to be larger than females. The eyes of this grebe are dark brown in color and have a yellow ring around them. Juveniles look similar to the adults in the breeding plumage or the breeding season but they have darker stripes on their cheeks. The subspecies Podiceps grisegena grisegena is smaller and has darker plumage and the bill is longer and thinner and not so yellow as that of Podiceps grisegena holboellii, the other subspecies.

The bill and color of the neck are some of its identifiable features.

How cute are they?

If you are a fan of birds, you might find this aquatic bird cute or interesting to look at.

How do they communicate?

At the time of breeding or summer season, these birds are quite vocal and the most common call is the whinny-braying call, which is generally used to mark the territories. There are other vocalizations that take place during the mating. These North-American birds are known to be silent in winter and fall. These birds are also known to use visual, auditory, tactile, and chemical methods or stimuli to perceive their environment. There are also dancing duets with the potential mates are also popular.

How big is a Red-necked Grebe?

This grebe's size is known to be similar to that of a crow and a Mallard and its size is in between that of a Horned and Western Grebe. These birds are 16.9-22 in (430-560 mm) long.

How fast can a Red-necked Grebe move?

The exact speed of this grebe is unknown but these birds are known to be fast when moving to the winter ground but there can be seasonal differences in the movement.

How much does a Red-necked Grebe weigh?

This grebe can weigh around 1.8-3.5 lb (0.8-1.6 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of the species.

What would you call a baby Red-necked Grebe?

A baby Red-necked Grebe is called a chick or young.

What do they eat?

The diet of this Red-Necked grebe mainly consists of small fish, insects found on land and water or large lakes, and other crustaceans. It is also known to feed in some amphibians sometimes. These include sticklebacks, pilchards, eels, sculpins, and Pacific herrings, shrimps, mud lobsters, crayfish, prawns, dragonflies, damselflies, beetles, and wasps. The Red-Necked grebes forage or search for food underwater, or some are bought to the surface, and insects are caught when flying low.

Are they poisonous?

The Red-Necked grebes are not considered to be poisonous and harmful to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Not much information is available about these grebes as pets and it is believed that these Red-Necked grebes will not make great pets as they are wild migratory birds.

Did you know...

These North American birds are known to winter in northern climes but many of the flying and wandering birds have been observed in Hawaiian and Bermuda islands.

There are two subspecies, one found in North America and referred to as North American grebes or birds and the other found in Eastern Asia.

It was previously assumed that like other grebes, these grebes also migrated in the night but after a study conducted at Whitefish Point, Michigan, it was recorded that these grebes passed the lake during the daytime.

These grebes migrate over lands strictly at night but they can be observed over water or along the coasts or coastal waters or larger lakes, in large groups or flocks during the daytime.

The Red-necked grebe consumes many of its own feathers. The stomach of this bird retains two balls or masses of feathers, however, the reason for this is unknown. Some believe that these feathers protect the lower digestive tract from hard, indigestible materials like bones, and these feathers are also fed to the young ones.

The oldest recorded grebe was around 11 years old and was found in Minnesota.

As these species are known to defend their territories, they tend to be aggressive.

These species are quite strong divers and swimmers.

Predators of this species include common ravens, American crows, bald eagles, gulls, raccoons, American coots, and Great Horned owls. Some search for food based on the eggs and chicks or young while some hunt adults.

How many types of grebes are there?

There are around 16 types of grebe like the Little grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Pied-billed grebe, Horned grebe, Western Grebe, Black-necked grebe, Red-necked grebe, Podiceps, Clark's grebe, Australasian grebe, Hoary-headed grebe, Least grebe, Atitlan grebe, Alaotra grebe, New-Zealand grebe, and Madagascan grebe.

When do Red-necked Grebes get breeding plumage?

These birds get their breeding plumage during the breeding season which is in summers. The color of the sides of the head becomes even lighter in the breeding season or the summer season and the lateral part of the breast and the neck is reddish-brown in color during this season and some parts are similar to the winter plumage.

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 chinstrap penguin and frigatebird.

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



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