Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Least Concern

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)


French: Grèbe à bec bigarré German: Bindentaucher Spanish: Zampullín picogrueso

Colymbus podiceps


, 1758,

South Carolina


Closely related to †P. gigas, with which may have hybridized. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. podiceps (Linnaeus, 1758) – S & C Canada S to Panama; winters S USA, C America, West Indies.
  • P. p. antillarum Bangs, 1913 – Greater and Lesser Antilles.
  • P. p. antarcticus (Lesson, 1842) – E Panama and Colombia S to SC Chile and SC Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–38 cm; 250–568 g. Black throat. Heavy build, especially head and bill, distinctive and separates this species from all but now-extinct P. gigas, which... read more


    Commonly gives series of “caow” notes. Song far-carrying, a series of barking “... read more


    During breeding, mainly shallow, stagnant fresh waters, marshy ponds, lakes, slow flowing stretches... read more

    Food and feeding

    Opportunist. Wide variety of small aquatic insects, especially bugs (Hemiptera), beetles (Coleoptera) and dragonfly larvae (Odonata); also... read more


    Season mainly May–Sept in N and Sept–Dec in S, and breeds in all months in tropical areas; multiple-brooded, especially in... read more


    Mainly sedentary. Populations of extreme N move S post-breeding, wintering S to Baja California and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common; some local delines recorded. Ubiquitous and very adaptable, at least in North America, where this is the most common grebe... read more

    Recommended citation

    Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). 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 18 March 2018).