English Name Red-necked Grebe
Scientific Name Podiceps grisegena
German Name Rothalstaucher
Spanish Name Somormujo Cuellirrojo
French Name Grèbe jougris
Red-necked Grebe
Peters Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 212.0
Sibley Monroe Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 3669.0
Gill Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 72.0
New 2013 Family Name PODICIPEDIDAE:Grebes Order 220.0
English Synonyms
  • Gray-cheeked Grebe
  • Holboll's Grebe
$Note: Hartert,1920["1921"],Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna,2,Heft XI-XII(August),p.1450 comments:"The description appears to related to P.auritus but could also apply to P.griseigena."                                                                 
Authority (Boddaert 1783)
Habitat breeds mainly inland water,typically fairly small & shallow,with some emergent vegetation,& some open water.Also backwaters large rivers or estuaries.Prefers water in forest.Winter coastal waters
Breeding "Apr/May to Jul/Aug,steadily later towards N." (HBW,1,p.192)
North America
Nature Of Migration In The Species
Complete, short- to medium-distance migrant typically between inland freshwater breeding areas and marine wintering areas. Often migrates in small flocks. Autumn movements include molt migration, in which many birds move to molt sites to undergo simultaneous (flightless) wing molt before proceeding to wintering areas. All known molting areas are en route to wintering areas.
Uncertain dividing line between breeding ranges of Pacific-wintering and Atlantic-wintering populations. Band recoveries and contaminant data (in eggs) suggest that breeding ranges of Atlantic- and Pacific-wintering populations diverge somewhere in w. Saskatchewan. An especially noteworthy feature of North American migration patterns is the recently discovered fall migration corridor through Lake Superior.
Timing And Routes Of Migration
Across range, adults depart breeding lakes as early as late July, and up to 4 weeks before their young. Most breeding lakes are vacated by mid-September. Typically arrives on breeding lakes in spring shortly before complete breakup of ice, even when large areas of floating ice remain (late Apr-mid-May). Migratory routes are more east-west than north-south. This species is a rare migrant in central U.S. south of breeding range. Very rare from Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri south to southern California interior, Arizona, New Mexico, and Gulf Coast states.
Eastern-Wintering Migrants
Principle fall migration route is via Great Lakes, especially Superior, Huron, and Ontario. Smaller numbers move through Lakes Michigan and Erie, St. Lawrence River, and inland areas south and east of Great Lakes. On Lake Superior and north Lake Huron, vast majority of migrants pass mid-August-mid-September. Major diurnal flights occur on Lake Superior. Seasonal totals of up to 18,739 diurnally migrating Red-necked Grebes counted in August-November at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, near Paradise, Michigan. Diurnal passage also occurs past Thunder Cape Bird Observatory, near Thunder Bay, Ontario, and along western and northern shores of Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. Smaller numbers of diurnal migrants pass through north Lake Huron.
Exact migratory route east of n. Lake Huron is unclear, but probably includes overland flights across s. Ontario, Quebec, and northeast U.S. Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River may be used more extensively in autumn migration than is currently documented. However, August-September records of concentrations of up to 3,000 individuals in north-central Lake Ontario  have not been noted in recent decades. Peak numbers on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River recorded October-early November. Along south Lake Erie, most migrants appear late October-November, sometimes lingering until early January. Earliest migrants reach Atlantic in late August, but most birds arrive October-November. Apparent time gap between peak migration through upper Great Lakes and buildup of numbers at Atlantic wintering sites likely is due to timing and location of flightless molt. Eastern molt sites have been identified in Gulf of St. Lawrence and north Lake Huron, but relatively few Red-necked Grebes are accounted for during this period. In north Lake Huron, at least 1,300 molting Red-necked Grebes were observed on bays around Manitoulin Island, Ontario, in 1994. Occasionally this species stages midwinter movements because of severe winter freeze-up of Great Lakes and other interior wintering sites. During these movements, frequently found south of normal migration route and wintering range, especially in states south and southeast of Great Lakes. May gradually move south along Atlantic Coast as winter progresses.
Migratory routes in spring appear similar to those used in fall, but greater numbers are observed on Lake Ontario, and diurnal passage through Lake Superior is much less pronounced. Lake Ontario appears to be especially important as a spring stopover area, with large buildups of migrant flocks in several areas. Large spring diurnal flights discovered in 1997 (up to 881 birds in 1.5 hours, 21 Apr) along north Lake Ontario at Oshawa, Ontario. Begin staging for spring migration in March-April, when large flocks are observed along n. Atlantic Coast. Migratory flocks observed inland to s. Great Lakes region late March-May; peak numbers observed March in southeast Pennsylvania and late April farther north. Migrates through western Great Lakes region early April-May; peak passage late April-early May. Migrants observed in north Lake Huron and Lake Superior as late as early June.
Western-Wintering Migrants
Pacific-wintering grebes migrate overland and along coast, staging at larger lakes and reservoirs en route. In southern British Columbia, grebes may follow routes across plateaus and valleys). Fall arrivals to Alaskan coast begin mid- to late August and continue to late October. Main fall migration in British Columbia occurs August-October. Boundary Bay, British Columbia, is inhabited by molting grebes late August-early October, but other molt sites for Pacific-wintering birds remain undocumented. Arrives on Oregon coast late August-October. Arrives on north California coast from early September, but does not reach southern California until mid-October. In spring, departs northern California coast by late April). Migrants observed on Oregon coast late March-April. Spring migrants seen as early as late February and early March in southern British Columbia; peak movements mid-April. Peak spring movements through n. British Columbia occur in early May. Peak migration through n. Gulf of Alaska coast and Prince William Sound, Alaska, late April-mid-May. Main migration through interior Alaska mid-May.
Migratory Behavior
Overland movements are strictly nocturnal, but some extensive diurnal movements occur along ocean coastlines and over other large water bodies, such as Great Lakes. Flock sizes of diurnally migrating grebes on Lake Superior in August-September of 1990-1994 ranged from 1 to 74 individuals per flock (median 3, n = 9,987 flocks). Diurnal flocks form loose flight formations that are less compact than those of typical waterfowl flocks. Groups of several hundred individuals are a regular occurrence at some migratory staging areas. Calling and courtship behavior are common in spring aggregations.
No direct measures of flight speeds or of distances of nonstop flights. Nocturnal flight duration probably is limited only by available hours of darkness. Flies at low altitudes in overwater diurnal movements. At Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Michigan, most grebes flew at heights of 0.5-50 m above water and generally remained at least 750 m offshore. Autumn migrants on east Lake Superior were never observed crossing land or even following a major river during daylight hours. Migrant flocks reaching St. Mary's River turned around, often circling many times, before finally landing at stopover sites in Lake Superior. They appeared to depart during the night from these stopover sites.
Influence of weather on nocturnal migration is largely unknown, apart from instances of grebes being grounded during snow- and icestorms. Diurnal flights on Lake Superior are greatly influenced by weather conditions. High fall migration volume at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Michigan, is associated with recent passage of cold fronts and approaching high-pressure systems (conditions characterized by northwesterly winds, low but rising barometric pressure, falling temperatures, decreasing precipitation, and increasing visibility
 Thanks to Stout, Bonnie E. and Gary L. Nuechterlein. 1999. Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). species no.465.
Migratory and dispersive. After breeding, most migrate or disperse to tidal water. In west Palearctic principal wintering areas western seaboard (Norway and Britain to Bay of Biscay), Baltic and Caspian Sea; lesser numbers also Black Sea, and apparently Adriatic and Aegean. 19th century reports of large numbers Morocco and Tunisia, but no modern confirmation and seems now scarce to rare winter visitor to south side Mediterranean. Some winter inland waters, especially larger ones such as Swiss lakes. Present in British coastal waters chiefly October-March; scarce Ireland. Southward passage noted Aland Channel (entrance Gulf of Bothnia) August-October; departures from Schleswig-Holstein breeding lakes commence August. In Russia, autumn movements at peak October to early November. Occasional large midwinter influxes (associated with severe weather) occur, as Britain 1865, 1891, 1895, 1922, and 1937. Main spring departures from western seaboard March, from Caspian Sea April; throughout range of nominate grisegena, breeding waters reoccupied late March to early May, averaging earlier in west.
Migrates singly or in small parties. In Åland Channel migration chiefly nocturnal, though continued by swimming by day; in North America (holboellii) passage nocturnal overland, but flies by day in coastal movements. Movements imperfectly known. Presumably north and north-west Europe breeders winter North Sea, Atlantic coasts and Baltic, perhaps with some from European Russia (west to Urals), though others of unknown origins winter Black Sea. Caspian winterers believed breed Volga basin and west Siberia. Only 3 long-distance ringing recoveries: juvenile from Oberlausitz (East Germany) found north-west France, February; one ringed Denmark (October) found Finland, May; one ringed Switzerland (December) recovered Hungary, June.
P. g. holboellii is a vagrant to west Europe.
Thanks to BWP on CD-ROM