grebe

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grebe

(grēb), common name for swimming birds found on or near quiet waters in most parts of the world. Grebes resemble the loonloon,
common name for migratory aquatic birds found in fresh- and saltwater in the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Its strange, laughing call carries for great distances. Like the grebes, loons float low in the water and their legs are placed far back.
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 and the duckduck,
common name for wild and domestic waterfowl of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and swans. It is hunted and bred for its meat, eggs, and feathers. Strictly speaking, duck refers to the female and drake to the male.
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; they have short wings, vestigial tails, and long, individually webbed toes on feet that are set far back on a short, stubby body. They float lower in the water than do ducks, and at the approach of danger they sink progressively lower and then submerge, a practice which has given them the name helldiver.

They are poor fliers and awkward on land; their loosely constructed nests are either hidden in the rushes and weeds at the water's edge or placed on floating vegetation fastened to growing plants. Many grebes cover their eggs with refuse when they leave the nest, and some carry the young on their backs. They have complex courtship rituals, including dancing in pairs on the water. They eat crustaceans, fish, and aquatic insects and plants; unique among birds is their unexplained habit of swallowing feathers. Grebes were formerly hunted for their silky breast feathers.

The best-known representative in the Western Hemisphere is the pied-billed grebe, Podilymbus podiceps, locally called dabchick, water witch, and didapper. Other grebes are the western and Holboell's grebes of North America and the eared and horned grebes of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. There is a flightless species in South America.

Although grebes have been considered to be related to the loon, DNA testing suggests that they may be most closely related to the flamingoflamingo,
common name for a large pink or red wading bird, similar to the related heron, stork, and spoonbill but with a longer neck, webbed feet, and a unique down-bent bill. Flamingos are tropical birds, although large colonies have been observed high in the Andes.
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. Grebes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Podicipediformes, family Podicipedidae.

grebe

[grēb]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the family Podicipedidae; these birds have legs set far posteriorly, compressed bladelike tarsi, individually broadened and lobed toes, and a rudimentary tail.

grebe

any aquatic bird, such as Podiceps cristatus (great crested grebe), of the order Podicipediformes, similar to the divers but with lobate rather than webbed toes and a vestigial tail