English Name Horned Grebe
Scientific Name Podiceps auritus
German Name Ohrentaucher
Spanish Name Zampullín Cuellirrojo
French Name Grèbe esclavon
Horned Grebe
Peters Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 211.0
Sibley Monroe Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 3671.0
Gill Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 74.0
New 2013 Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 219.0
English Synonyms
  • Slavonian Grebe
$Le Grand Grebe Buffon,1781,Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux,8,p.242.
Authority (Linnaeus 1758)
Habitat breeds on fresh water,occupying small pools and patches of open water,or secluded sections of large lakes & rivers.In winter,mostly marine,occurring in sheltered bays and occasionally on open seas;also on fresh waters in south of breeding range
Breeding "Laying Apr-Aug (to Sept in Iceland and Norway),peaking in June." (HBW,1,p.193)
North America
Nature Of Migration In The Species
Complete, medium-distance migrant. Most individuals move from inland freshwater sites to coastal marine sites. Migrates at night by flying, probably in flocks; diurnal migration accomplished individually or in loose aggregations by swimming and probably also by flying. Most individuals migrate long distances (more than 1,000 km) between breeding and wintering sites; few breed and overwinter at same site. Alternate-plumaged adults regularly summer south of main breeding range.
Timing And Routes Of Migration
Appears to migrate over a broad front in the interior of the continent without following any route; along the East and West coasts, migration is presumably more confined by topography, though species’ generally nocturnal migration (and its occurrence in Bermuda and Hawaiian Is.) makes even this supposition tentative; perhaps migrates less densely through Rocky Mountains than elsewhere in western North America.
Individuals move north in stages, again along a broad front in interior, as open water becomes available, usually departing Florida Gulf Coast by mid-March, Tennessee by late March–early April, south Ohio by late April, and New York by late April–early May. On West Coast, departs California by mid-April. Annual irregularity in numbers of spring and fall migrants noted in Ohio. Possible that staging areas in spring and fall may be learned and used annually. Studies with marked individuals needed.
Most individuals move east, west, or south to Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf Coast, respectively. In interior, they reach Ohio in regular numbers by mid- to late October, Tennessee by late October–early November, and Florida Gulf Coast by early to mid-November. Some may reach Gulf Coast via southward migration along Atlantic Coast and then overland across coastal plain of Georgia and Florida. On West Coast, most arrive in California by mid-October (1 month later in s. California), and on East Coast, regular in moderate numbers in New York by mid- to late October and in Florida by a few weeks thereafter.
Migratory Behavior
Mating displays and pair-bonding occur during spring migration, sometimes in winter. Flocks, sometimes numbering several hundred individuals, form quickly at suitable migration stopover sites and near breeding sites before ice breaks up at breeding sites. Inclement weather during nocturnal migration may ground large numbers, often fatally. On occasion, engages in nest- or platform-building during migration or possibly if delayed along migration route. Dissolution of flocks in spring initiated by avoidance, rather than aggressive, behavior
Thanks to Stedman, Stephen J. 2000. Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.),species no.505
Migratory. Small breeding waters deserted for winter, birds moving mainly to inshore seas, but some to large lakes. On western edge of breeding range may be dispersive, moving only to nearest coasts. Autumn movements begin late August, peak October-November. Main departures from winter quarters March-April; reach Iceland, south Sweden and south Finland in April, but breeding waters further east may not be reoccupied until late May, dependent on thaw. Scottish lochs occupied from March or early April to September, failed breeders leaving first. Records for May to early June from North Sea may include late migrants, but later must be non-breeders.
Isolated, large-billed populations breeding Iceland, Faeroes (occasionally), Scotland and north Norway, appear from museum speciments to winter around Faeroes (few), Scotland, Atlantic coast Ireland, and on west coast Norway from Troms (69°N) south to Jaeren, while some straggle to Greenland. Depart Iceland, though a few may occasionally overwinter south-west coast. One ringed Iceland recovered Faeroes in November.
Small-billed birds (breeding Sweden eastwards) apparently winter further south and east: west Baltic, Kattegat, Skagerrak, west coast Denmark to southern North Sea and Brittany; small numbers across west-central Europe (notably lakes in France and Switzerland) to Mediterranean and Adriatic; also on Black, Caspian and Aral Seas. Data from skins suggest contact with large-billed birds only east Scotland and south-west Norway. Migration routes little known; one ringed Sweden recovered Netherlands (December); while one ringed Vologda, USSR, found Yorkshire, England (April) shows that some Russian birds reach as far west as North Sea.
Thanks to  BWP on CD-ROM.