While almost never found in large flocks, the pied-billed grebe is the most widespread grebe in North America. This small, stocky bird prefers marshy shallows where it dives for fish and aquatic invertebrates. Easily identified by its short, blunt bill which is marked with a black ring, this grebe is usually seen alone or in pairs; when disturbed, it dives underwater or sinks among the reeds and is rarely seen in flight.
In April, pied-billed grebes are common on Midwest lakes as their spring migration peaks; indeed, seasonal migrations are usually the only time that you will find them in scattered flocks. Breeding across southern Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, they winter on open waters throughout the southern half of the U.S. and Central America; though they prefer fresh water, some may be found on brackish bays during the colder months.
Like most grebes and loons, pied-bills nest on floating mats of vegetation, anchored among cattails or other aquatic plants. The chicks, which have striped plumage, may be seen riding on their parent's back by late spring.