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Rgoodwin

Help with the Grebe in the middle

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This was an extremely long shot and is heavily cropped.  I believe the two ducks on the outsides are Common Goldeneye's but the Grebe in the middle is in question.  I am thinking Eared Grebe but need help.  Taken today January 25, 2020 in the central Texas Panhandle.

Golden eye and --1

 

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To me this looks better for Horned Grebe, but the amount of white Eared Grebes have on their head can be pretty variable, so I guess I'm not certain.

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Yes I would lean Horned Grebe here but I cannot say that with complete confidence.

There is lots of white on the face, suggesting Horned, but that is not necessarily a super robust ID mark. In the field I often look for more robust supporting details such as bill shape and head and neck shape, which are difficult to judge in this photo.

Perhaps someone else can provide some input. 

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Thanks AlexHenry,  Winter plumage along with extreme crops make for difficult ID's.  I will attempt to get a closer shot next time.

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I just saw my first Eared Grebe in January; it was swimming with Coots and Lesser Scaups, and was noticeably smaller than they are. Not familiar with Goldeneyes, but assuming they're similar in size to Coots and Scaups, the grebe seems a little large. Also at least the one I saw had a lot more black on the crown than yours appears to have. I also didn't get great shots but maybe they'll help? Second one is mostly for size comparison.

Eared Grebe 3 small.JPG

Eared Grebe 4 small.JPG

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Head shape is perfect for Horned, wrong for Eared. Note how large the Eared Grebe's bill is relative to the depth (front to back) of the bird's head. Horned Grebe has a larger head, which then dwarfs the length of the bill.

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