English and Scientific names:

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisgena

Number of individuals: 

One, apparent first winter bird

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

Cotile Lake in southeast arm near opening of main body of lake.

Date(s) when observed:

November 22, 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

Approximately 4:00 PM CST

Reporting observer and address:

Jay V. Huner

Boyce, LA 71409

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Sky was over cast, late afternoon but good light and no shadows. Lake was almost dead calm.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Binoculars 10 x 40 BT

Distance to bird(s): 

Probably about 300+ yards.

Duration of observation:

.Approximately 5 minutes.


Reservoir. Lake level has been dropped about 5 feet so entire vista was filled with stumps and snags extending at least 4 feet above water level. Bird was near main boat lane.

Behavior of bird: 

The bird was a grebe which was actively feeding. I watched it for several minutes as it dove, emerged from each dive for a few seconds, and dove again. It remained submerged about 15 seconds - quick count of 20, remained on the surface 10-15 seconds and dove again. It was plunge diving - actively rising up with the forward part of its breast clearing the water and plunging down into the water. I never actually saw it with any prey in its bill so if it was successful, it was consuming its catch under water. Perhaps it continued its feeding - plunging/rising/plunging - because it was not successful in finding prey? It was coming up just at the extreme edge of my binocular field or just to the right of it.

The bird was moving from south to north toward the dam. It finally got to the point that it was difficult to see and follow in the stumps and snags. I had no possibility of following it in a boat nor of taking any images.


I first saw a ripple suggesting that a bird was in the water while scanning the stumps and snags for birds. The bird was often coming up behind one of those obstacles. The bird I saw was clearly a grebe but it had a long body compared to that of a Pied-billed Grebe. Its head was rounded suggesting a first winter bird based on review of field guides. The bill was long, at least as long as the head, and was clearly yellow, sort of dagger shaped. A Double-crested Cormorant flew over the bird to provide for comparison of approximate size and contrasting bill shapes of the two diving waterbirds. The upper half of the bird was dark including the top of the head. The breast, when exposed as the bird plunge was very light in contrast to the back. The bird never flapped its wings, preened, or did anything that would permit a better description.


No Sounds.

Similar species:

A Double-crested Cormorant flew over the bird so it was easy to tell that it was not a cormorant. The bird was simply not large enough to be a loon. The bird was too large and bill too large/long for it to be one of the small grebes - Pied-billed, Horned, or Eared. The bird was not large enough nor did it have the long, white neck of Clark\'s Grebe or Western Grebe.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Previous experience with this species: 

I have seen Red-necked Grebes in Alaska a number of times on trips to Alaska in 2007 and 2008. I was also with an expert birder in around 1999 when he pointed out a very rare summering Red-necked Grebe in the surf near Cape Hatteras, NC.

Identification aids:

I first checked Sibley's field guide and subsequently used the National Geographic field guide to satisfy my decision to identify the bird as a Red-necked Grebe.

This description is written from: 

I made notes about 45 minutes after viewing the bird when preparing an ebird report. The ebird report was for 11/22/2009 for Rapides Parish, Louisiana

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: 

November 23, 2009, approximately 8:30 PM.