grebe


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

grebe

grebe (grēb), common name for swimming birds found on or near quiet waters in most parts of the world. Grebes resemble the loon and the duck; 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 flamingo. Grebes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Podicipediformes, family Podicipedidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Recently I had the pleasure of watching a little grebe regularly diving and feeding in crystal-clear water at RSPB Saltholme.
For example, diving birds, such as scoters and grebes, might be particularly vulnerable when they surface unaware of the proximity of eagles, unlike gulls and dabbling ducks that feed on the surface.
"The little grebe is a diving water bird who will spend most of their life on the water except for when they are nesting.
With over 17 years of industry experience, Grebe joined the company in 1999.
The Japan Times reported in January, 2014 that 28 canisters of high-level radioactive waste, produced through the reprocessing of spent Japanese nuclear fuel in Britain, would be transported to the Aomori Prefecture on board Pacific Grebe.
The least grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus) is a waterbird that has been negatively affected by alterations of aquatic environments by humans (R.
Cardiff Bay also has some great bird watching opportunities with the great crested grebe resident in the wetlands reserve by St David's Hotel.
THE great crested grebe is making an amazing comeback...