Horned Grebe 2/8/10

These little waterbirds wintering along the Atlantic coast come all the way from their breeding grounds in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest (in Europe the same species is known as the Slavonian Grebe). They’re sometimes called Devil-divers on account of their flaming red eyes. As you can see their winter diet includes small fish caught while diving, along with crustaceans. Winter coats of dark grey and white with black caps are rather plain compared to summer breeding plumage, which is predominantly rusty red and black with the distinctive and expressive yellow horn feathers responsible for their name. Grebes are fairly skittish and if threatened, are more likely to dive than take flight. Once thought to be closely related to loons, genetic studies have discredited the theory. Fetched at Wallis Sands in Rye, NH.

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