Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Least Concern

Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii)


French: Grèbe à face blanche German: Clarktaucher Spanish: Achichilique de Clark

Podiceps clarkii


, 1858,

Laguna de Santa María, Chihuahua, Mexico


Formerly included within A. occidentalis, and was thought to be merely a colour morph, but the two forms were found to mate assortatively, and to use different advertising calls to attract their mates; hybrids in areas of contact seem to be rare. Name clarkii was first applied to a smaller southern race, including birds of both “colour morphs”, now classified as A. o. ephemeralis and A. c. clarkii. Distribution limits of all four races in the complex are not well established. Validity of race transitionalis has been questioned#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. transitionalis Dickerman, 1986 – SW Canada and W USA (W of Great Plains) S to N Baja California; winters in southern part of range.
  • A. c. clarkii (Lawrence, 1858) – Mexican Plateau from N Chihuahua to N Guerrero, and W to Nayarit.
  • Descriptive notes

    51–74 cm; 550–1225 g. Large, long-billed, long-necked, white and black to dark grey-brown grebe lacking obvious crest; very like A. occidentalis. Race... read more


    Several calls recorded. Advertising call, given most frequently during breeding season, a... read more


    Breeds on freshwater to brackish marshes, lakes, reservoirs and ponds, with preference for sizeable... read more

    Food and feeding

    Limited information available. Diet probably very similar to that of A. occidentalis, thus mainly fish with some aquatic insects,... read more


    Laying May–Jul in USA, but season more protracted in Mexico, with eggs May-Oct; single-brooded. Colonial, sometimes in large mixed... read more


    Little information available. Most of those breeding in USA probably winter along coast in company... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally fairly common; possibly declining slightly. According to BirdLife, global population lies in range 11,000–21,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii). 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 29 February 2020).