Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Clark's Grebe - Aechmophorus clarkii
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General Comments The Clark's Grebe was split from the more common Western Grebe in 1985. The two are very similar in appearance and in overall breeding and winter ranges, but Clark's is a casual stray to the East. Observers must be extremely careful when reporting a Clark's, especially as winter-plumaged birds have more sooty coloration in the lores areas than in summer, when the lores are white and the eye is mostly surrounded by white feathers.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Provisional
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Accidental. One was seen on the inshore ocean near Cape Hatteras (two locations) from 15-19 Mar 2003* [Chat 72:102-103 link]. Though video of the bird was taken and reviewed by the NC BRC, the video was ruled not clear enough to fully document Clark's Grebe; the written details were accepted by the committee.
Piedmont No accepted records. A pair of "Western Grebes" was seen and photographed for a week on Lake Townsend (Guilford) in Dec 2009. One was clearly a Western, and the second was reported as both a Clark's and as a Western (separate reports). The NC BRC did not accept the second grebe to either species, despite good photos, as the bird contained some field marks of Western but others of Clark's.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips Any sightings of "Western"-type grebes need to be carefully scrutinized for this casual species in the East.
1/2 *
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-02], LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2012-01-02]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.