Eared Grebe
(Podiceps nigricollis)


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

Breeding colonially in shallow lakes and ponds throughout the western provinces, the Eared Grebe is the world’s most abundant grebe (Cullen et al. 1999). Christmas Bird Count data show a slight negative trend across North America, while aerial surveys since the mid-1900s at major fall staging sites in the United States vary between decreases and little change. The population status specific to the Canadian portion of the population remains uncertain but is thought to have shown little change since 1970. 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)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLittle ChangeLow

Population estimate

CanadaNot yet available

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaTo be determined

Conservation and management

Although specific threats remain largely unknown, their concentration into large flocks throughout the year leaves Eared Grebes vulnerable to stochastic events. Collisions and mass landings of densely aggregated staging migrants attracted to lights may represent an important cause of mortality, while disease outbreaks, food shortages or climatic fluctuations can also cause sudden and dramatic die-offs (Cullen et al. 1999). Loss of wetland habitat from agricultural development and recreational disturbance of nesting sites likely further reduces nesting success (Cullen et al. 1999).


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
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region