It is small (12"-15"), duck-like, with scarlet eyes, and with a small, straight black bill tipped with white during the summer. It rides high in the water.
Unmistakeable in summer, the male's nesting plumage entails a black head with brown-yellow puffy earlike tufts along the sides of its face, and a red neck.
It breeds in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe and Asia. It also breeds in remote inland parts of the United States and much of Canada. Most birds migrate in winter to the coast. In winter, this small grebe is mainly white with a sharply defined black cap, and resembles a small Red-necked Grebe.
Like all grebes, it nests on the water’s edge, since it legs are set very back and it cannot walk well. Usually two eggs are laid, and the striped young are sometimes carried on the adults back.
It is an excellent swimmer and diver, and pursues its fish prey underwater.
During nesting, the male call will sound as an odd, striking series of loud croaks and chattering notes followed by prolonged shrieks.
Folk names: Devil-diver, hell-diver, pink-eyed diver, water witch.
† Podiceps: Latin for podicis (rump) and pedis (foot), referring to the placement of the legs on its body; auritus: Latin for eared.