Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Least Concern

Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)


French: Grèbe à cou noir German: Schwarzhalstaucher Spanish: Zampullín cuellinegro
Other common names: Eared Grebe

Podiceps nigricollis

C. L. Brehm

, 1831,



Sometimes placed in genus Dytes. Often considered to include †P. andinus as a race. Also closely related to P. juninensis, P. occipitalis and P. taczanowskii. Older specific name caspicus officially suppressed#R. E African birds sometimes placed instead in race nigricollis. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. nigricollis C. L. Brehm, 1831 – Europe to W Asia, wintering in SW Palearctic; and CE Asia, wintering in E Asia.
  • P. n. gurneyi (Roberts, 1919) – E Africa (Sudan and Ethiopia patchily S to N Tanzania); also S Africa.
  • P. n. californicus Heermann, 1854 – SW Canada and W USA to NW & C Mexico; winters S to Guatemala.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–34 cm; 265–450 g; wingspan 41–60 cm. Distinctive in breeding plumage, the only grebe combining black head and neck, and yellow ‘ear-tufts’; bill... read more


    During breeding, a quiet, high-pitched, ascending whistle with squeaky quality, “ooeek”, repeated... read more


    Generally breeds on small, shallow, highly eutrophic waterbodies with lush vegetation, especially... read more

    Food and feeding

    Especially during breeding season takes mostly insects, both adults and larvae, e.g. aquatic bugs (Hemiptera), terrestrial and aquatic... read more


    Season Apr–Aug (egg-laying mainly May–Jun) in N Hemisphere, at least Jan–Feb in E Africa (Tanzania) and Oct–Apr in... read more


    Mainly migratory and dispersive, though populations in S of range can be more or less sedentary.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and locally abundant; probably most numerous of all grebes. According to BirdLife summary, estimated global population c.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).