The Western Grebe is 55 to 77 cm long and 800 to 1800 grams. It is black and white with a narrow body, long neck, and long, pointed yellowish green bill. The bright red eyes of the Western Grebe are surrounded by black. The female is smaller and the bill on the female is much thinner and shorter (Storer and Nuechterlein 1992).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
1200 on Medicine Lake in spring migration 1951. Bozeman migration: April 27 to June 10; peak May 25. No typical fall buildup.
The Western Grebe lives on fresh water lakes and marshes which have large areas of open water and vegetation around it (Storer & Nuechterlein 1992).
The Western Grebe feeds mainly on fish, but will also eat salamanders, crustaceans, plychaete worms, and insects. They tend to be opportunists (Storer and Nuechterlein 1992).
Courtship is during spring migration and shortly after arrival on breeding grounds. The construction of the nest is done by both the female and male (Storer and Nuechterlein 1992). Nests typically in June. Young have been seen from June 11 to August 4. Eggs: in Oregon, mean length was 58.1 mm, mean width was 38.7 mm, and mean mass was 48.4 g (Hill et al. 1995).