Podiceps is a genus of birds in the grebe family.
It has representatives breeding in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Most northern hemisphere species migrate in winter to the coast or warmer climates.
They breed in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes, nesting on the water's edge, since their legs are set too far back for easy walking. Usually two eggs are laid, and the striped young may be carried on the adult's back.
All the genus are excellent swimmers and divers, and pursue their fish prey underwater.
Adults have striking breeding plumage, with no difference between the sexes. In winter, the plumage is subdued whites and greys.
The Black-necked, Colombian, Silvery and Junin Flightless Grebes are very closely related and were formerly sometimes separated as the genus Dyas
. The Great Grebe has also sometimes been separated as the sole member of the genus Podicephorus
One of the very oldest fossil grebes known to date actually belongs to this genus. Altogether - as in all grebes - the fossil record leaves much to be desired, being quite complete for the last 5 million years before present or so, but very incomplete before the Pliocene.
Fossil species of Podiceps are:
- Podiceps oligocaenus (John Day Late Oligocene/Early Miocene)
- Podiceps cf. auritus (Early Pliocene of Florida, USA) - formerly P. pisanus, P. howardae and Pliodytes lanquisti
- Podiceps subparvus (Middle Pliocene of California, USA)
- Podiceps discors (Late Pliocene of WC USA)
- Podiceps? sp. (Late Pliocene of WC USA) - see Murray (1967)
- Podiceps sp. (Early Pleistocene of Dursunlu, Turkey) - see Louchart et al. (1998)
- Podiceps dixi (Late Pleistocene)
- Podiceps parvus (Late Pleistocene of W North America)
Among the material assigned to P. parvus were bones of another species, which may or may not belong into this genus (Murray 1967).
- Louchart, Antoine; Mourer-Chauviré, Cécile; Guleç, Erksin; Howell, Francis Clark & White, Tim D. (1998): L'avifaune de Dursunlu, Turquie, Pléistocène inférieur: climat, environnement et biogéographie. C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris IIA 327(5): 341-346. [French with English abridged version] (HTML abstract)
- Ogilvie, Malcolm Alexander & Rose, Chris (2003): Grebes of the World. B. Coleman, Uxbridge. ISBN 1-872842-03-8
- Harrison, Peter (1988): Seabirds (2nd ed.). Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7470-1410-8
- Murray, Bertram G. Jr (1967): Grebes from the Late Pliocene of North America. Condor 69(3): 277-288. PDF fulltext