Clark's Grebe
(Aechmophorus clarkii)


Picture of bird
© Calibas - License
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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 the 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. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Partners in Flight (North America)Watch list - yellow R2017 
Wild Species (Canada)Critically imperiled2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada500 - 1,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

Clark’s Grebes require large lakes with sufficient open water and fish, but also large beds of emergent vegetation where they can build floating nests protected from waves. Similar to the Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebes are affected by wetland loss and degradation (Campbell et al. 2009, Riske 1976), and may be vulnerable to shoreline development and leisure activities on their breeding lakes, as well as oil spills on their Pacific Coast wintering grounds (O’Donnel and Fjeldså 1997, Henkel et al. 2014).


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 -- Other
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other