Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Least Concern

Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)


French: Grèbe minime German: Schwarzkopf-Zwergtaucher Spanish: Zampullín macacito

Colymbus dominicus


, 1766,

Dominica = Santo Domingo


Present species has even been placed in Poliocephalus, or alternatively separated in monospecific genus Limnodytes. Proposed name speciosus for main South American range is instead a synonym of Rollandia rolland chilensis#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. d. bangsi (van Rossem & Hachisuka, 1937) – S Baja California (NW Mexico).
  • T. d. brachypterus (Chapman, 1899) – WC Mexico and S Texas S to Panama.
  • T. d. dominicus (Linnaeus, 1766) – N Caribbean, from Cozumel I (off SE Mexico) to Virgin Is and N to Bahamas.
  • T. d. brachyrhynchus (Chapman, 1899) – E Colombia S to N Argentina, S Brazil and Uruguay.
  • T. d. eisenmanni Storer & Getty, 1985 – W Ecuador to NW Peru.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–26 cm; 108–130 g (nominate), 170 g (race brachyrhynchus). Unmistakable in range, with fairly uniform greyish appearance, head and neck grey, yellow... read more


    Commonest call a trill, often protracted, given at varying speed. Rather high-pitched loud “... read more


    Wide range of inland bodies of fresh water, including lakes, pools, ponds, backwaters and roadside... read more

    Food and feeding

    Generalist. Mainly larvae and adults of aquatic insects, especially beetles (Coleoptera), true bugs (Hemiptera) and dragonfly larvae (... read more


    Breeds throughout year, depending on local conditions: in S USA (Texas) laying recorded in all months, with peak Apr–Aug; two broods... read more


    Mainly sedentary, with local dispersal when pools dry out. Flies more readily than other grebes,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Often local or very local, but has extensive range and apparently quick to adapt to environmental changes, especially in water level... read more

    Recommended citation

    Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus). 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 January 2020).