Clark's Grebe
(Aechmophorus clarkii)


Picture of bird
© Calibas - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Clark's Grebe was recognised as a distinct species in 1985 (American Ornithologists' Union 1985) when the "Western Grebe" dark- and light-phase birds were split into Western Grebe and Clark’s Grebe respectively. Clark's Grebe inhabits western North American from Canada south to Mexico. It is a rare breeder in Canada. Single birds or small groups have been reported from scattered locations in Canada (Eichhorst and Parkin 1991) in southern part of the Prairie provinces and south-central British Columbia. The population in Canada remains small, but the lack of information precludes an assessment of this species' population status relative to about 1970. Clark's Grebe is listed as a candidate wildlife species for assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)May Be At Risk2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Canada500 - 1,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

Clark’s Grebe requires large lakes with sufficient open water and fish, but also with large beds of emergent vegetation where they can build floating nests protected from waves. Similar to the Western Grebe, the Clark’s Grebe is affected by wetland loss and degradation (Campbell et al. 2009, Riske 1976) and may be vulnerable to shoreline development and leisure activities on its breeding lakes, and oil spills in their Pacific Coast wintering grounds (O’Donnel and Fjeldså 1997).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region