Definitions

Pied-billed_Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

[pahyd-bild]
The Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a species of the grebe family of water birds. Since the Atitlán Grebe, Podilymbus gigas, has become extinct, it is the sole extant member of the genus Podilymbus.

Etymology: Podilymbus is a contraction of Latin podicipes ("feet at the buttocks", from podici-, "rump-" + pes, "foot") - the origin of the name of the grebe order - and Ancient Greek kolymbos, "diver". podiceps, "rump-headed", from podici- + New Latin ceps

The Pied-billed Grebe breeds across Canada, parts of the United States, and temperate South America. Although this species does not appear to be a strong flier, it has occurred in Europe as a rare vagrant on a number of occasions, and one bird in England bred with a Little Grebe, producing hybrid young.

The most widespread of North American grebes, it is found on remote ponds, marshes, and sluggish streams. It is usually the first grebe to arrive on northern inland waters in springtime, and the last to leave in autumn. It is rare on salt water. This grebe rarely flies, preferring to escape danger by diving.

It feeds on fish (carp, catfish, eels), insects (dragonflies, ants, beetles), and amphibians (frogs, tadpoles).

The Pied-billed Grebe is small at 31-38 cm (12"-15") in length, stocky, and short-necked. It is usually brown or gray in color. It has a short, blunt chicken-like bill, which in summer is encircled by a broad black band (hence the name). It is the only grebe that does not show a white wing patch in flight.

This grebe is usually silent, except in breeding season when the male voices a loud, laughing cuck, cuck, cuck or cow, cow, cow.

Folk names of this grebe include dabchick, devil-diver, dive-dapper, hell-diver, and water witch.

There are several prehistoric taxa of Podilymbus described from fossil remains:

  • Podilymbus majusculus (Late Pliocene of WC USA)
  • Podilymbus wetmorei (Late Pleistocene of Florida, USA)
  • Podilymbus podiceps magnus - a paleosubspecies of the Pied-billed Grebe of uncertain validity.

References

  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

External links

Footnotes

Search another word or see Pied-billed_Grebeon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature