Pied-billed Grebe juvenile

I’ve posted adult Pied-billed Grebes (Podilymbus podiceps) before but hadn’t posted any images of their young on my blog yet so I am posting a few images of one of them today. These images were created at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, just to the north of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe in morning lightJuvenile Pied-billed Grebe in morning light – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This is a hatch year Pied-billed Grebe and it still shows some of the camouflage that the immature birds have to help them hide from predators. This bird is in the “Stripe-head stage” but it is not nearly as striped as younger Pied-billed Grebes are.

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe stretchingJuvenile Pied-billed Grebe stretching – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

As I observed and photographed this Pied-billed Grebe juvenile it preened some, did a few stretches and fluffed up it feathers. The image above shows the lobed foot of the bird.

Juvenile Pied-billed GrebeJuvenile Pied-billed Grebe – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Personally, I think that Pied-billed Grebes (of any age) are fun to photograph because they are so feisty with each other, they often chase each other around when one of them catches a fish in an effort to steal it away.

Pied-billed Grebe juvenile
Pied-billed Grebe juvenile – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Pied-billed Grebes can live to be at least 3 years old, if not longer. They are rarely seen in flight because they migrate at night. They are capable of long distance flights, some Pied-billed Grebes have flown to Europe, the Azores and the Canary Islands. ¹

Fluffed up juvenile Pied-biled GrebeFluffed up juvenile Pied-billed Grebe – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

It won’t be long before the adult Pied-billed Grebes in this area begin the nesting season and more of these young grebes will be seen floating on the water near the adults, begging for food or chasing after each other.


¹ Birds of North America


  1. Julie Brown March 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I think the pied-billed grebes are the cutest. Nice set of images, Mia.

    • Mia McPherson March 26, 2012 at 6:10 am

      Thanks for your comment Julie, they are very cute.

  2. Prairie Birder March 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Great photos Mia. I saw a juvenile Pied-billed Grebe last year, and I took lots of photos of it too. They are so cute!

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:27 am

      PrairieBirder, They are so cute and show a lot of character. Thanks so much for commenting

  3. Susan March 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Awesome post, I’ll have to be on the look out for Pie-billed grebes. I saw one once several years ago, but I only saw it because I kept wondering where the barking dog was that I kept hearing. It was the Pie-billed Grebe that was making the sound. I’ll never forget that:)

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:26 am

      Susan, Pied-billed Grebes do make some funny sounds! I hope that you get to see more of them soon.

  4. Dan Huber March 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Wonderful captures, such a cute little one. Very nice Mia (trying to catch up on blogs, 🙂 )

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:22 am

      Dan, I think they are cute too! Thanks for commenting, I know you have been very busy.

  5. Scott March 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Terrific! Nice to see photos of these little guys at this stage as they’re growing out of their ‘zebra stripes’ 🙂

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:21 am

      Scott, thanks for your wonderful comment.

  6. Kathy Finnerty March 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Too cute. Love the stripey look! My fav is the one with its feet out behind him after that BIG stroke forward!

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:20 am

      Thanks Kath, I love that stripey head look too. Grebes have funny feet and I like to photograph them.

  7. Julie G. March 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I have seen tiny Pied-billed Grebes before but never as juveniles. These photographs are marvelous! They show of the “Stripe-head stage” wonderfully. Beautiful crisp, clear, gorgeous images, Mia!

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:19 am

      Thanks for your very kind comment Julie. I find the dtriped head to be beautiful on these young birds.

  8. judy watson March 23, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Wonderful!!! Awesome pics!

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:18 am

      Thanks Judy, Pied-billed Grebes are fun to photograph.

  9. Tammy Karr March 23, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Great post! These young Grebes are adorable! It is interesting to see their strips, which I love, fading away as they mature.

    • Mia McPherson March 23, 2012 at 6:04 am

      Thanks Tammy, I think the young Pied-billed Grebes are adorable too.

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