Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The horned grebe, Podiceps auritus, breeds in marshes, lakes, and ponds in Alaska and in areas along the northern border of the United States. It winters along the eastern and western coasts of the United States and Canada. The horned grebe is an uncommon, but regular migrant to Utah in the spring and fall.

The diet of the horned grebe consists of aquatic insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. Similar to other grebes, horned grebes eat their own feathers, presumably to protect their stomachs from sharp fish bones and crustacean shells.

The male and the female work together to build a floating platform nest in an area of tall vegetation. Four eggs are incubated by both parents for about three weeks, and then hatch over a period of several days. Both parents care for the young, which are often seen riding on the backs of their parents. The young begin flying about one month after hatching.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J. and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds. Academic Press, San Diego.

  • Behle, W. H., Sorensen, E. D. and C. M. White. 1985. Utah birds: a revised checklist. Utah Museum of Natural History, Occasional Publication No. 4. Salt Lake City, UT.