Silvery grebe

The silvery grebe (Podiceps occipitalis) is a species of grebe in the family Podicipedidae. It is found in the western and southern part of South America at altitudes of up to 4,000 metres (13,000 ft). Its natural habitat is freshwater lakes but it also feeds in saline lakes.

Silvery grebe
Silvery Grebe (Podiceps occipitalis) swimming.jpg
Laguna Lagunillas, Puno, Peru
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Podicipediformes
Family: Podicipedidae
Genus: Podiceps
P. occipitalis
Binomial name
Podiceps occipitalis
Garnot, 1826


The silvery grebe is about 28 cm (11 in) in length. There are two different subspecies which differ in the colouring on their head and facial plumes. The southern form has a black cap and the sides of its head are grey. The neck, chest and belly are white while the back is dark grey and the sides and flanks blackish. The beak and feet are black and the eye red. It is similar in appearance to the Junin grebe (Podiceps taczanowskii).[2][3]


Distribution and habitatEdit

The silvery grebe nests in Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Chile, and the western parts of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. It is a migrant in Paraguay and southern Brazil and possibly also in Uruguay. Its habitat is freshwater lakes, lagoons, reservoirs and ponds at altitudes between sea level and 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).[2] In the Andes it is sometimes found foraging on hypersaline lakes and also inhabits saline lakes in Patagonia where it is found in the company of flamingoes.[3]


The silvery grebe is found in small groups and feeds on aquatic invertebrates which it catches while diving under the water.[3] Its diet includes adults and larvae of caddisflies, water beetles, chironomid midges and water boatmen.[4]

The silvery grebe tends to breed in colonies on freshwater lakes. The nest is often composed of floating mats of vegetation.[3] Nesting has been recorded in February in Colombia and between September and March in Peru with most eggs being laid between November and January.[4]


The silvery grebe has an extremely wide range and large total population. Although the population trend is downward, the rate of decline is insufficient for the IUCN to rate the bird as "vulnerable" and it is therefore listed as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Podiceps occipitalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Blanquillo: Podiceps occipitalis occipitalis". Aves de Chile (in Spanish). Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  3. ^ a b c d "Podiceps occipitalis". Neotropical Birds Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  4. ^ a b Llimona, F.; del Hoyo, J.; Jutglar, F.; Garcia, E.F.J.; Kirwan, G.M. "Silvery Grebe (Podiceps occipitalis)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Retrieved 2014-07-02.