How to Identify the Pied-billed Grebe

Passing over the genus AEchmophorus, which embraces a single New World form, we come to the final genus, which contains only the Pied-billed Grebe, Helldiver, or Water-witch (Podilymbus podiceps), as it is variously called. It is distinguished from the others by the very stout bill, in which the length is less than twice the depth at the base. About fourteen inches long, it is brownish above and silvery white beneath, becoming in the breeding season black on chin and throat, and spotted with dusky below, while the bill is whitish, crossed near the middle by a black band. During winter the black on the throat is replaced by dull white, the lower parts are without the dusky spots, and the bill without the black band. This bird, probably the commonest and best known of our Grebes, is found throughout the whole of North and South America except in the extreme northern and southern districts. Its various common names are a sufficient indication of its most salient characteristics.