Aechmophorus Carkia – Clark’s Grebe

Aechmophorus Carkia - Clark's Grebe

The Clark’s grebe, known in Latin as Aechmophorus clarkii is a North American grebe species in the family Podicepidae. It was assumed to be a pale variant of the western grebe until the 1980s. There are known intermediates.

Quick Overview: Aechmophorus Carkia – Clark’s Grebe
Body size: Around 26 in (66 cm) and a weight of 1496 g (52.8 oz)
Main colors: White, Red, Black, Yellow
Range: Western United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Clark’s Grebe Description

Winters near the Pacific coast, nesting on vast inland lakes in western North America. The Clark’s Grebe has a white face, red-eye, and a black cap that extends somewhat below the eye, which distinguishes it from the Western Grebe. The Clark’s Grebe has a long yellow beak with a little upturn.

Aechmophorus Carkia - Clark's Grebe
Aechmophorus Carkia – Clark’s Grebe. Photo by: Jerry Kirkhart

Size

These birds have a length of 26 in (66 cm) and a weight of 1496 g (52.8 oz). Their wings could range from 30-40 in (76-102 cm).

Feeding

It feeds on polychaete worms, insects, crustaceans, and salamanders. It mimics the western grebe’s extravagant courting display.

Habitat

Clark’s Grebes spend the winter in saltwater bays. During the breeding season, they like open water and emergent plants. Breeding sites are in the Big Sage/Fescue zones, which range from California north to south-central Canada.

Behavior

Clark’s grebes appear to be semi-monogamous, remaining with a single partner for a season. Males outnumber females.

Aechmophorus Carkia Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Podicipediformes
  • Family: Podicipedidae
  • Genus: Aechmophorus
  • Species: Aechmophorus clarkii

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Clark’s Grebe in the USA

Breeds from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Minnesota south to southern California, with a few individuals extending to Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Winters along the west coast and Gulf of Mexico, as well as on important river systems in the west.

The Clark’s Grebe can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Aechmophorus Carkia – Clark’s Grebe

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