Watchable Wildlife Manitoba

Western Grebe


Western Grebe

Western Grebe
Photo by Robert R. Taylor
larger image

The Western Grebe likes lakes with emergent vegetation that they use to build floating nests. It is a beautiful bird with a long slender neck. Its upper body is black and from chin to belly it is white.

The most spectacular feature of the Western Grebe is its dancing, considered some of the most intriguing in the bird world. One of their water ballets is described in Manitoba Birds by A. Bezener and K. De Smet:

The ‘rushing’ display…involves two or more individuals exploding into a paddling sprint side by side across the water’s surface. The grebes stand high, feet paddling furiously, with their wings stretched back and heads and necks held rigid, until the race ends with the pair breaking the water’s surface in a graceful, headfirst dive.

You might catch this extraordinary display at Delta Marsh WMA or Whitewater Lake WMA in May.