Aechmophorus occidentalis is the largest of the North American grebes, it ranges from 56-74 cm in length. It has a long neck and bill. The feet are at the far back of the body and the tail is reduced. The ankle and toe joints are very flexible to aid in manueverability in the water. The head, neck, and body are a blackish brown color from above, and white from below. The Western Grebe has a dull yellow or olive-colored bill and red eyes surrounded by dark coloration. In flight a white wing stripe is exposed. The sexes are monomorphic year round.
Aechmophorus clarkii, Clark's grebe, was only recently recognized as a separate species. Clark's grebes have white surrounding the eye and a bill that is bright yellow to orange-yellow. Their flanks have more white areas and the back is a lighter gray.
Average mass: 1400 g.
Average mass: 1475.5 g.