Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2010-47

Common name:

Red-necked Grebe

Scientific name: Podiceps grisegena
Date: October 23, 2010
Time: 11:00 am
Length of time observed: 45 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Immature?
Sex:  ?
Location: Jordanelle Reservoir
County: wasatch
Elevation: 6180 ft
Distance to bird: Maybe 100 yards?
Optical equipment: Kowa Spotting Scope
Weather: Very Overcast, Raining
Light Conditions: Poor. Flat and dark.
Description:        Size of bird: Large Grebe
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Long necked Grebe
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark gray body, reddish neck, dark cap on top of head, pale cheeks.
(Description:)            Bill Type:  Long and thick.  Evenly tapered to a sharp point.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The bird was a long necked grebe, big tailless body with a long neck and a long pointed bill.  The body was a dark gray color. Neck was dark along the back and pale reddish on the sides and front up to the head. The head was large with a dark cap and pale cheeks.  Dark area of cap bled into the pale area of the cheeks forming dusky streaks making me think this was probably a first year bird. Eye was dark and situated within the dark area of the cap.  Bill was mostly dirty yellowish, heavy and pointed.  Upper and lower mandible tapered evenly to a sharp point, taper just very slightly steeper the closer to the tip.  Unlike Clark's/Western with a straight top edge of upper mandible and a lower mandible that curves up to meet the tip of the top.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Swam and dove in water.
Habitat: Open water on large reservoir.  Stayed sort of near a spit of land that jutted out into the reservoir.  Some short brush on the land.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
From Clark's/Western Grebe by the thicker neck, reddish color on the neck, the bill shape (heavier with a tapered upper mandible), shape of head (blockier with a peak at the back of the head) and dark eye.
From loons by longer neck and color and pattern on head and neck. 
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen several Red-necked Grebes on the West Coast and a couple here in Utah.  I am very familiar with Western and Clark's Grebes.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to birds.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 N, Pleasant Grove Ut, 84062
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Jeff Cooper, KC Childs, Eric Peterson and several others later that day.  Plus others reported seeing the bird up to a week after the initial sighting.
Date prepared: 11/04/10
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Jeff Cooper ran out to the end of the peninsula and was able to get a little closer and a few photos of the bird before it started raining.