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Status Of North American Grebes

  • Western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis). Plume hunters devastated the population in the beginning of the twentieth century. The species has apparently recovered, taking up residence in areas not historically used. The population in Mexico may be declining.
  • Clark's grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii). Plume hunters contributed greatly to the decline in population. Past population counts are unreliable because of confusion of this bird with the Western Grebe. The population in Mexico may be declining due to loss of nesting habitat (i.e., tules on lakes).
  • Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena). Declines in population have resulted from damage to eggs and eggshells by pesticides and PCBs, and by raccoon predation. This species continues to be vulnerable to polluted wintering areas along the coast. The population status today is not well known.
  • Horned grebe (Podiceps auritus). Population is apparently declining, though hard numbers are lacking.
  • Eared grebe (Podiceps nigricollis). Feathers were once used for hats, capes, and muffs; and eggs gathered for food. Today the populations appear stable, but the species is considered vulnerable because large numbers depend on a very few lakes at certain seasons (for example, the Great Salt Lake, Mono Lake, and the Salton Sea).
  • Pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). This species has proven adaptable, and is now found in developed areas. Surveys suggest a population decline in recent decades, however.
  • Least grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus). Normally found in southern Texas in the United States. Sometimes killed by exceptionally cold Texas winters.

See also Biomagnification.



Ehrlich, Paul R., David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye. The Birder's Handbook. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1988.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Freedman, B. Environmental Ecology. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 1994.

Peterson, Roger Tory. North American Birds. Houghton Miflin Interactive (CD-ROM), Somerville, MA: Houghton Miflin, 1995.

Bill Freedman
Randall Frost

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Glucagon to HabitatGrebes - Species Of Grebes, Conservation Of Grebes, Status Of North American Grebes