Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Dinsmore & Jorgensen in Nebraska Bird Review (June 1997) 65(2).


Copyright 1997, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


On 26 September 1996, we saw and photographed a Red-necked Grebe at Sutherland Reservoir in Lincoln County. When we arrived at the northwest end of the lake, Dinsmore noticed a slightly smaller, bigger-headed grebe resting with a couple of Western Grebes. Both of us immediately recognized the bird as a Red-necked grebe. We studied it at close range from 2:43-3:17 p.m. CST. Compared to a Western Grebe, in addition to the size differences mentioned above, this bird was shorter-necked. The mantle was dark gray with some brown flecking. The flanks were grayish. The foreneck was very buffy, almost reddish in color. The bill was large, thick, and straight with a yellowish base and dark tip. The crown was dark and the bird had a distinct white cheek patch. There was a single thin, indistinct dark line above the eye. Initially, we thought this meant the bird was an immature. However, juvenile/first-basic birds should not have a reddish neck, and would probably still have the distinctive multiple stripes across the face. We concluded that the bird was probably an adult in molt. The indistinct eyeline may have been a feature unique to this particular individual.

We observed the bird again on 27 September with Ross Silcock and John Sullivan. Red-necked Grebes are rare migrants in Nebraska. Dinsmore (1996) summarized previous records of this species in Nebraska. This record represents the ninth documented record for Nebraska, and is the earliest fall record.