Grebes similar to Loons in appearance and behavior are small to medium-large in size, have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, although they can run for a short distance, they are prone to falling over, since they have their feet placed far back on the body so rarely leave the water. I personally have never seen a Grebe on land or flying since they also migrate at night.
Most Grebes are migratory however Pied-billed Grebes, are permanent residents of Great Salt Lake wetlands. Western Grebes, Clarks Grebes, Eared Grebes as well as Pied-billed Grebes nest at Great Salt Lake. During their fall molt tens of thousands of Eared Grebes find safety from predators during this time of flightlessness on the Great Salt Lake.
Bills vary from short and thick to long and pointed, depending on the diet, which ranges from fish to freshwater insects and crustaceans. The feet are always large, with broad lobes on the toes and small webs connecting the front three toes. The hind toe also has a small lobe. All of Great Salt Lake's Grebes have bright red eyes except the Pied-billed Grebe which has a dark eye.
Grebes are diving birds they have plumage that is dense and waterproof, by pressing their feathers against the body, grebes can adjust their buoyancy, often, they swim low in the water with just the head and neck exposed.
In the non-breeding season, grebes are plain-coloured in dark browns and whites. However, most have ornate and distinctive breeding plumages, often developing chestnut markings on the head area, and perform elaborate display rituals.
Eared Grebe in Breeding Plumage
The largest concentration of Eared Grebes in the world stage at Great Salt Lake
Eared Grebes resting on Great Salt Lake
Can you spot the field mark differences of this Clark's Grebe
and the Western Grebe below ?
Western Grebe with young
Horned Grebe in Breeding Plumage this Grebe is uncommon or rare at Great Salt Lake
Pied-billed Grebe often mistaken by non-birders as baby ducks
Pied-billed Grebe with Young