Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)


Colombian Grebe (Podiceps andinus)


French: Grèbe des Andes German: Andentaucher Spanish: Zampullín colombiano

Colymbus caspicus andinus

Meye de Schauensee

, 1959,

Lake Tota, 3015 m, Boyacá, Colombia


Has often been considered a subspecies of P. nigricollis. Monotypic.


Bogotá wetlands, at c. 2600 m in E Andes of Colombia (Boyacá and Cundinamarca); latterly confined to L Tota (Boyacá).

Known from 18 or 19 specimens collected between 1939 and 1964#R. Last recorded in 1977; intensive fieldwork in 1981 and 1982 failed to find this species, which is now considered extinct. Possible causes of population crash include drainage of wetlands, introduction of predatory fish (in 1944, in L Tota), pesticide pollution of water, reed-harvesting, and hunting; increased influx of agricultural fertilizer led to huge reduction in macrophyte growth, and reduction of vegetation around lake may have been significant if the species fed mainly by gleaning from foliage. Loss of suitable habitat owing to artificial lowering of water level in mid-1950s probably resulted in marked decline in numbers, making the species far more vulnerable to other negative factors.

Descriptive notes

33 cm. In breeding plumage, head mostly black, crown more dull slate-grey, with yellowish and chestnut ear-tufts; foreneck and breast chestnut; hindneck and upperparts... read more


No information.


Fresh waters and fairly open lakes with tall reedbeds, and with stretches of shallow water with... read more

Food and feeding

No information available; capture of insects by foliage-gleaning presumably important, as with closely related P. nigricollis.


Several females were ready to lay in Aug, with main laying season possibly Aug–Sept. No other information.


No information available; probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

EXTINCT. According to BirdLife International, last recorded in 1977. Considered abundant on L Tota in 1940s and periodically recorded on other lakes of Sabana de Bogot... read more

Recommended citation

Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Colombian Grebe (Podiceps andinus). 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 March 2019).