Podiceps grisegena holbollii

Status: Rare casual spring migrant statewide. Rare regular fall migrant statewide. Rare casual summer visitor statewide. Accidental in winter.

Documentation: Photograph: 24-26 Oct 1995 Lewis and Clark Lake, Knox Co.

Taxonomy: Two subspecies are recognized, grisegena in Eurasia and holbollii in North America.  Nebraska birds are holbollii.

Changes since 2000:  The number of reports has increased substantially since 2000.  Prior to 2001 there were about 32 records in all (Sharpe et al 2001), but by late 2017 the count has risen to about 90; most reports are from Lake Ogallala, Keith Co.

Spring:  This species overwinters on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and thus is rare in the Interior (AOU 1998), especially in spring. There are 16 spring reports, only eight accepted, all since 2001: 26 Mar 2017 Lake Ogallala, Keith Co pre-alternate molting adult, 17 Apr 1984 Dakota Co (Bray et al 1986), 22-23 Apr 2004 Lake Ogallala alternate adult, 28 Apr 2001 Lake Ogallala alternate adult, an alternate adult photographed 1 and 16 May 2012 in Dodge Co, 8 May 2010 Fuchtman Playa, Antelope Co alternate adult, and an alternate adult at Crescent Lake NWR, Garden Co 18 May 2018.

The following additional reports are within the expected migration period and are probably correct: 7 Apr 1927 Omaha (Swenk 1933), 10 Apr 1963 Lincoln Co, 19 Apr 1966 Gage Co (Fiala 1970), 12 May 1992 Scotts Bluff Co, 13 May 1979 Douglas Co (Cortelyou 1979), 17 May 1967 Scotts Bluff Co, 22 May 2012 Lake McConaughy, Keith Co, and an immature in Scotts Bluff Co 2 Jun 2002.

SummerNesting has not been recorded in Nebraska; this species is an uncommon local summer resident only as far south as northeastern South Dakota (Tallman et al 2002) and northwestern Iowa (IOURC 2018).  Lake Ogallala, Keith Co hosted 1-2 adults from 10 May-17 Oct 2016, but no breeding evidence was reported.

There are these accepted records: 10 May-17 Oct 2016 (1-2 adults) Lake Ogallala, 10 Jun 2007 basic adult Lake McConaughy, 16 Jun 1985 Lancaster Co (Garthwright 1985; Mollhoff 1987), and 10 Jul 2012 alternate adult Lake Ogallala.

FallOct 17,18,18 <<<>>> Nov 27, 29, 29

There are earlier records 15 Aug-15 Sep 2001 Lake Alice, Scotts Bluff Co, 26 Aug 2001 Johnson WPA, Phelps Co, 3 Sep 2006 Lake Ogallala, 7 Sep-11 Oct 2000 Lake McConaughy, 16 Sep 2017 Lake Ogallala, and 26 Sep 2007 Smith Lake WMA, Sheridan Co.

Later records are 20 Nov-1 Dec 2010 Branched Oak Lake, 29 Nov-3 Dec 2015 Holmes Lake, Lancaster Co, 3 Dec 2000 (three) Lake McConaughy, 9 Dec 2020 (two) Lake McConaughy, 11 Dec 2005 Lake McConaughy, 21 Dec 2014 Lake Ogallala, 29 Dec 2012 three Lake McConaughy, 2 Jan 2016 four Lake McConaughy, and one on 2 Jan 2021 Lake McConaughy.

There were a total of six reported 24 Oct-9 Dec 2020.

  • High counts:  4 at Lake McConaughy 2 Jan 2016, 3 there 3 Dec 2000, 3 at Calamus Reservoir, Loup Co 14 Nov 2006, and 3 at Lake McConaughy 29 Dec 2012.

WinterThe only record of overwintering is of two adults and an immature, the latter present since 6 Nov and the adults first seen 1 Jan, at Lake McConaughy 1999-2000.


IOURC: Iowa Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee
WPA: Waterfowl Production Area (Federal)


Photograph (top) of a Red-necked Grebe at Stagecoach Lake State Recreation Area, Lancaster Co 19 Apr 2021 by Larry Porter.

Literature Cited

Bray, T.E., B.K. Padelford, and W.R. Silcock. 1986. The birds of Nebraska: A critically evaluated list. Published by the authors, Bellevue, Nebraska, USA.

Cortelyou, R.G. 1979. 1979 (Fifty-fourth) Spring Migration and Occurrence Report. NBR 47: 42-54.

Fiala, K.L. 1970. The birds of Gage County, Nebraska. NBR 38: 43-72.

Garthright, W.C. 1985. Red-necked Grebe. NBR 53: 77.

Iowa Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee [IOURC]. 2018.  Red-necked Grebe.   Iowa Ornithologists Union bird checklist, accessed 27 Oct 2015.

Mollhoff, W.J. 1987. First report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 55: 79-85.

Sharpe, R.S., W.R. Silcock, and J.G. Jorgensen. 2001. The Birds of Nebraska: their Distribution and Temporal Occurrence.  University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Swenk, M.H. 1933. A brief synopsis of the birds of Nebraska. II. Grebes. NBR 1: 142-151.

Tallman, D.A., Swanson, D.L., and J.S. Palmer. 2002. Birds of South Dakota. Midstates/Quality Quick Print, Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2021.  Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 14 Mar 2021