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Least Grebe

Tachybaptus dominicus

Length: 9.5 inches Wingspan: 11 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Tiny size for a grebe, dark gray overall, yellow eye, black face, dark bill

Least Grebe - Tachybaptus dominicusThe Least Grebe is the smallest of the Grebe species in North America.  They have a very wide distribution in the Western Hemisphere, as they are found in much of South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  Their range barely crosses into the United States, in southern Texas.

Habitat: Can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, especially those with signficant vegetation at the water's edge.

Diet: Feeds on a variety of small animal life, including small fish, salamanders, frogs, snails, and insects. 

Behavior: Mostly feeds by diving underwater, chasing prey while swimming in dives of up to 20 or more seconds.  They will also pick up prey items from the water's surface, or pluck insects and snails from wetland vegetation.

Nesting: Least Grebes will nest at almost any season.  They build a floating nest made out of aquatic vegetation, anchored to reeds or other wetland vegetation.  Both parents will incubate the eggs, and help tend to the young. 

Song: Loud nasal, single-note tone

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout their normal range.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Least Grebe sightings

Similar Species: Pied-billed Grebe

Conservation Status: Least Grebes have a widespread range, and are fairly common throughout much of that range.  They are considered a species of "Least Concern" by the IUCN. 

Further Information: 1) Cornell's All About Birds - Least Grebe

2) Audubon - Least Grebe

3) AvianWeb - Least Grebe

Photo Information: December 16th, 2007 - Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Costa Rica - Frank Vassen - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Least Grebe - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Least Grebe Photos (coming soon!!)