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Overview

Brief Summary

Black-necked grebes have golden-colored ear plumes and a black neck. You can find them from August till early spring in the Wadden Sea and delta region. Afterwards, they depart for lakes and fens lying more inland where they nest. They build floating nests. This means that the chicks are born on the water and can swim just after birth. Nevertheless, the parents carry them on their back in the beginning. The fluffy feathers are not yet capable of keeping them warm enough in the cold water.
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Distribution

Range Description

The Black-necked Grebe is found on every continent except Australasia and Antarctica. It can be found from Europe to western Asia and in central and eastern Asia, wintering in the south-west Palearctic, east Asia and east Africa. It can also be found wintering and breeding in southern Africa. Furthermore, it breeds in south-west Canada, western USA and central Mexico, wintering as far south as Guatemala1.

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: southwestern Canada east to Manitoba, south to northern Baja California, central Arizona, northern New Mexico, and southern Texas, east to Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, south locally to central Mexico (Chihua, Nayarit, Jalisco, Puebla); in South America (formerly) on temperate lakes in the eastern Andes of Colombia (considered full species, Andinus, by some). NON-BREEDING: mainly southern British Columbia to Guatemala on coast, and inland north to central California, northern Nevada, northern Utah, northern New Mexico, and central Texas inland; recently reported rarely but possibly regularly to El Salvador (see Stiles and Skutch 1989). The highest concentration in winter is on the Salton Sea, California (Root 1988). Also occurs in Eurasia and Africa.

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 32 cm

Weight: 297 grams

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Diagnostic Description

Description

Length: 28-33 cm. Colour: adult, breeding: head, chin, throat fore- and hind-neck, breast and back black, ear-tufts golden, underparts white with rufous band on flank; non-breeding, where it occurs: above dark, below white. Bill medium length, slightly upturned, blackish. Legs and feet black. Habitat: various water bodies including marine. (<316><318>)
  • Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban & K. Newman (1982). The Birds of Africa, Volume I. Academic Press, London.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour This species is fully migratory (Snow and Perrins 1998), although the extent of migration varies between populations (del hoyo et al. 1992), and some populations remain predominantly sedentary (e.g. in Spain) (del hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998). Autumn movements are often protracted, with dispersal beginning in mid-August and lasting until late-November (peaking in October) (Snow and Perrins 1998), with the return migration beginning in March (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species migratory movements are mainly nocturnal, although diurnal migration is known in the Palearctic (del hoyo et al. 1992). It breeds between May and June in the Northern Hemisphere (Fjeldsa 2004) (although laying dates often vary extensively between years and lakes) (Fjeldsa 2004), and nests in reed swamps (del hoyo et al. 1992) in small or large colonies of up to 2000 nests (although the species may also nest in isolated pairs) (Fjeldsa 2004). It forages diurnally (Brown et al. 1982, Fjeldsa 2004) and is highly gregarious (del hoyo et al. 1992, Fjeldsa 2004), both on migration and during the winter, forming concentrations of hundreds of thousands at certain sites in North America and Asia (del hoyo et al. 1992). After arrival in autumn staging grounds (e.g. Mono Lake in California) the species becomes flightless for 3 to 4 months due to loss of weight from the pectoral muscles (Ogilvie and Rose 2003). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season this species frequents permanent and temporary (Snow and Perrins 1998) small, shallow, highly eutrophic pools with lush vegetation, such as freshwater marshes and lakes (del hoyo et al. 1992) with dispersed submergent vegetation and patches of reeds (Konter 2001, Fjeldsa 2004), as well as ponds and fish ponds, sewage farms, quiet river backwaters and newly flooded areas (del hoyo et al. 1992). In southern Russia and Kazakhstan it shows a preference for variably developed reed swamps and gypsotrophic lakes (alkaline waters with rich submergent vegetation such as Chara and Potamogeton pectinatus) (Fjeldsa 2004). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species moves to salt lakes (del hoyo et al. 1992), hyper-saline industrial evaporation ponds (Fjeldsa 2004) and reservoirs (Snow and Perrins 1998), or to coastal estuaries, arms of the sea, and inshore shallows in bays and channels (del hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet The species is carnivorous, its diet consisting of adult and larval insects (such as aquatic bugs, terrestrial and aquatic beetles, damselflies, dragonflies (del hoyo et al. 1992), midges and brine-flies (Fjeldsa 2004)), molluscs, crustaceans (e.g. brine shrimps), amphibians (e.g. small frogs and tadpoles) (del hoyo et al. 1992), nereid worms (Fjeldsa 2004), snails (Konter 2001) and small fish (del hoyo et al. 1992, Fjeldsa 2004). Breeding site It usually nests colonially in thinly spaced, emergent marsh vegetation (such as Scirpus, Typha or sedge Carex), or on dense mats of floating waterweed, sometimes far from the shore (Fjeldsa 2004). The nest is a floating platform of aquatic vegetation anchored to emergent vegetation (del hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998) such as reeds (Fjeldsa 2004).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 43 specimens in 2 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 10 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 15.098 - 15.966
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.390 - 0.733
  Salinity (PPS): 33.370 - 33.476
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.741 - 5.880
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.374 - 0.419
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.355 - 3.287

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 15.098 - 15.966

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.390 - 0.733

Salinity (PPS): 33.370 - 33.476

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.741 - 5.880

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.374 - 0.419

Silicate (umol/l): 2.355 - 3.287
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Comments: Marshes, ponds and lakes; in migration and winter also salt lakes, bays, estuaries and seacoasts (AOU 1983). Some migrate to coast in fall, some remain inland in loose flocks on large bodies of freshwater during winter. Nests in areas with seasonal to permanent water: marsh, marshy section of lake, sewage pond, fishpond, newly flooded area, reservoir, river backwaters. Nests over water in shallow eutrophic wetlands that are particularly vulnerable to yearly fluctuations in water levels, including periodic natural lowering due to drought (Boe 1994). In Minnesota, preferred deep fresh marshes that were more than 30 ha in size and that contained 42-100% (mean 78%) open water; used wetlands were shallower and had more submergent vegetation and less treed perimeter than did unused wetlands, and they were less likely to have a public access and received less human use in summer (Boe 1992). Nest is mound of aquatic vegetation in shallow water.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

After breeding, most migrate to highly saline lakes in the Great Basin, where they molt, feed, and accumulate fat prior to flying to wintering areas. Major migration stops include: Mono Lake, California (up to 750,000 birds at peak in fall); Malheur NWR, Oregon; Bear River NWR, Utah; Great Salt Lake, Utah (up to 1.7 million individuals using the south arm of the lake; Jehl 1988). Fall migration probably peaks October-November (Johnsgard 1987). First arrivals in northern states and western provinces occur in April.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Diet includes aquatic insects and larvae, small fishes, crustaceans, and other small invertebrates. Feeds on surface of water or dives under. Diet mostly brine shrimp in fall at Mono Lake, California.

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General Ecology

Gregarious at all times of the year. Several hundred thousand may congregate in late summer and fall at Mono Lake, California. Mass downings of migrants sometimes occur in southern Utah in December (Condor 95:470-473). In Minnesota, waves generated by high winds destroyed 44% of 2370 nests examined; nest predation rate was very low (Boe 1994).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 12 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Breeding begins mid-April in south, late May-June in north. In Minnesota, nest initiation dates ranged from late May through the third week in July; nesting was moderately to highly synchronous within a colony (Boe 1994). Both adults, in turn, incubate an average of 3-4 eggs for 20-22 days. Young reportedly are independent in 3 weeks. Usually nests in colony (100 pairs on 1 lake is not unusual) on larger lakes. In Minnesota, colonies included 15 to 580+ nests, with 3-41 nests per 100 sq m (Boe 1994).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Podiceps nigricollis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATACTTAATCTTTGGTGCATGAGCCGGCATAGTCGGCACTGCCCTAAGCCTACTCATCCGCGCAGAACTAGGCCAACCAGGAACCCTTCTAGGAGACGACCAAATCTACAATGTAATCGTCACCGCCCATGCCTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATACCAATCATAATCGGGGGATTCGGGAACTGACTAGTCCCCCTAATAATCGGAGCCCCCGACATAGCATTCCCCCGCATAAACAACATGAGCTTCTGACTCCTCCCCCCATCCTTCCTACTACTCCTAGCTTCATCAACAGTAGAAGCCGGAGCAGGCACAGGATGAACCGTATACCCACCATTAGCTGGCAATCTAGCCCATGCTGGCGCCTCAGTAGACCTAGCCATCTTCTCCCTCCATCTAGCAGGTGTGTCCTCTATCCTAGGGGCAATTAACTTCATCACAACTGCCATCAACATAAAACCACCAGCCCTCTCACAGTACCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTATGATCCGTACTCATCACTGCCGTCCTACTACTACTCTCACTTCCAGTCCTTGCCGCCGGCATCACCATACTACTAACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACCACATTCTTTGACCCCGCCGGAGGCGGAGACCCAGTCCTATACCAGCACCTCTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Podiceps nigricollis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Status in Egypt

Winter visitor.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Population

Population
The global population is estimated to number c.3,900,000-4,200,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Korea and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Huge mortalities are frequently sustained at Salton Sea in southern California for unknown reasons (Friend 2002, Cole and Franson 2006) (possibly an unknown biotoxin, pathogen, impairment of feather waterproofing leading to hypothermia, or a unique manifestation of avian cholera) (Meteyer et al. 2004). The species is also vulnerable to oil pollution as it frequently winters on the coast (del hoyo et al. 1992, Ogilvie and Rose 2003), and is susceptible to avian cholera (Ogilvie and Rose 2003, Friend 2006), Erysipelas (Jensen and Cotter 1976, Friend 2006) and avian botulism (van Heerden 1974) so is threatened by future outbreaks of these diseases. Populations have also been known to crash in winter habitats during ENSO events due to reductions in food availability due to warming sea-surface temperatures, although they afterwards rebound (Jehl et al. 2002). Local declines of this species are also attributed to human disturbance (especially recreational activities on lakes) (del hoyo et al. 1992), and it is commonly killed by collisions with power transmission lines (Malcolm 1982). The species is predated by American Mink Mustela vison in the Slonsk Reserve, western Poland (Bartoszewicz and Zalewski 2003) and was threatened in North America by egg collecting and hunting for the millinery (hat making) industry (although this threat has since been removed) (del hoyo et al. 1992). Utilisation The species is hunted for commercial and recreational purposes in Gilan Province, northern Iran (Balmaki and Barati 2006).
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Wikipedia

Black-necked Grebe

The Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) known in North America as the Eared Grebe, is a member of the grebe family of water birds. It occurs on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.

Taxonomy[edit]

There are three subspecies:[2]

  • P. n. nigricollis is found from western Europe to western Asia (wintering to the south and west), in central and eastern Asia, and in eastern Africa
  • P. n. gurneyi is found in southern Africa
  • P. n. californicus is found from southwestern Canada through the western U.S. It winters as far south as Guatemala.

The two common names for this species both refer to features visible when the bird is in its breeding plumage; in such plumage, it has an all-black neck and a spray of golden plumes on each side of its head. The name "Eared Grebe" was in usage nearly a century before the name "Black-necked Grebe". The latter was first used in 1912 by Ernst Hartert, in an effort to bring the common name of the species in line with its scientific name.[3] The genus name of this species—Podiceps—comes from two Latin words: podicis, meaning "vent" or "anus" and pes meaning "foot".[4] This is a reference to the attachment point of the bird's legs—at the extreme back end of its body. The specific epithet nigricollis is Latin for "black-necked": niger means "black" and collis means "neck".

Description and range[edit]

P. n. nigricollis, non-breeding plumage

The Black-necked Grebe is 28–34 centimetres (11–13 in) long. The adult is unmistakable in summer with a black head and neck and yellow ear tufts. In winter, this small grebe is white with a poorly defined black cap, which distinguishes it from the crisper-looking Slavonian Grebe (Horned Grebe in America).

In courtship the male gives a mellow poo-ee-chk call to the female.

This species breeds in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe, Asia, Africa, northern South America and the southwest and western United States. The North American subspecies, P. n. californicus is known as the Eared Grebe (or "eared diver"). These birds migrate in winter, mostly to the Pacific Coast where they range south to El Salvador on a regular basis; vagrants may occur as far as Costa Rica.[5]

Black-necked Grebes of the nominate subspecies P. n. nigricollis in the cooler temperate regions of the Old World also winter further south, with many European birds moving to the Mediterranean area. The isolated southern African race, P. n. gurneyi is sedentary. It was named by South African ornithologist and author Austin Roberts in honour of the English bankers and amateur ornithologists John Henry Gurney and John Henry Gurney Jr..

The large breeding population in County Roscommon, Ireland discovered about 1915, fell victim to a drainage scheme in the late 1930s; at its peak there were an estimated 250-300 pairs. Breeding, in very small numbers, was suspected in Ireland in 2002, 2006, and 2011, and confirmed in 2012.

Behaviour[edit]

The Black-necked Grebe is an excellent swimmer and diver, and pursues its prey underwater, eating mostly fish as well as small crustaceans, aquatic insects and larvae. It prefers to escape danger by diving rather than flying, although it can easily rise from the water.

Like all grebes, the Black-necked Grebe nests on the water's edge, since its legs are set very far back and it cannot walk well. Usually two eggs are laid, and the striped young are sometimes carried on the adult's back.

The Black-necked Grebe is essentially flightless for most of the year (9 to 10 months), and serves as an example of one of the most inefficient flier among avifauna. Generally, this bird avoids flying at all costs and reserves long distance flight exclusively for migration. However, when migrating, it will travel as much as 6,000 km (3,700 mi) to reach prosperous areas which are exploited by few other species.[6]

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Potentially constitutes a superspecies with Andinus and P. OCCIPITALIS (AOU 1998). Andinus of Colombia sometimes considered a race of NIGRICOLLIS (AOU 1998). P. CASPICUS, used by some authors for P. NIGRICOLLIS, has been officially suppressed (AOU 1983, Banks and Browning 1995).

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