SIB “Bird of the Week” – Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe – Podilymbus podiceps
Length:  13″; Wingspan: 16″; Weight: 16 oz.

Pied-bill Grebe - Ed Konrad
Pied-bill Grebe – Ed Konrad

There are seven species of Grebes, but only four are mapped in Sibley’s as possible visitors to Seabrook Island.  However, only one of the four seems to be common to the Island.  That is the Pied-billed Grebe which may be seen bobbing around in our lagoons and lakes from October to March.  They will not likely to ever be seen on land.  This bird is compact, but shows a long neck.  Their coloration is largely a camouflage mix of brown shades with the darkest feathers being on the upper side of the wings.  While the stout beak is generally a yellowish brown, the male, in breeding plumage, has a silvery bill with a black ring around it.  This multi-colored bill provides the basis for the name Pied-billed Grebe.   These supurb swimmers and divers sit slightly low in the water and have lobed (as compared to webbed) feet.  Because they are more at home under the water’s surface, they are of the now-you-see-em-now-you-don’t sort.   Grebes slip underwater with little or no splash and can stay submerged for significant periods of time.   They don’t usually pop up near where they dove.  In contrast, Loons and Cormorants (both being long-necked swimmers and divers) are much larger and splashier birds.

Our lagoons and lakes, with the vegetated edges, provide favorite habitat.  The diet consists of aquatic insects, small fish, amphibians, and crustaceans.   On the other hand, they do not appear to be on the menu for the local alligator population.  While I have not knowingly heard a Pied-billed Grebe call, the literature says they make a gulping kuk-kuk-kuk sound.  Their summer nesting area extends northward from the Mason-Dixon line and into Canada.

Check out this short video of the Pied-billed Grebe

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit:

Article submitted by:  George Haskins
Photographs provided by:  Ed Konrad

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.

Join SIB: Birding Beyond Our Backyard – Hollings ACE Basin

Description: Saturday, February 4, 2023 7:30am – 4:00 pm (roundtrip from Seabrook Island)
          Leave Seabrook Real Estate: 7:30 am
          Hollings ACE Basin: 8:30 am – 11:30 am
          Lunch: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
          Bird Roxbury Park: 1:00 – 3:00pm

Location:  Meet at Real Estate Parking lot at 7:30 am to carpool to Hollings ACE Basin
Max:  12            
Cost: None for members; $10 donation for guests

The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is a 11,815-acre portion of the larger ACE Basin area, and the only portions that are federally protected. The wildlife refuge is divided into two units: the Edisto River unit and the Combahee River unit.  We will be visiting the Edisto River unit which has portions closed in the winter to provide a safe resting area for the ducks during the hunt season.  The ducks therefore may be at a distance.   Although it was closed already when visited in November, 44 species were seen including Blue Winged Teals, Gadwalls and Shovelers.  A pair of nesting American Eagles are on the nest at the facility in the area open.  Expect to walk approximately 3 miles on flat terrain.  There are restrooms on the property but whether they will be open or not is unknown as the drive closer to the restrooms is closed on weekends.  

You may pack a lunch to eat at either Hollings ACE Basin or Roxbury Park or you can join the group eating at Roxbury Mercantile (  This previous country store now has both inside and outside dining offering “Lowcountry cuisine”.

In the afternoon, we will make the short trip to from Roxbury Mercantile to Roxbury Park.  Roxbury Park is owned and managed by the Town of Meggett, SC.   What makes Roxbury Park such a special place is the diversity of it’s ecosystem.  Visitors to the park can see and experience eight distinctively unique habitats that attract and support an amazing variety of wildlife. ​ The park is open year round but only on Saturday and Sunday.  There is a portable restroom located in the parking area.

Participants may opt only the morning at Hollings ACE Basin or both.  If you wish to only do Hollings ACE Basin, we ask you just let us know and provide your own transportation.

Be sure to bring binoculars, camera, hats, sunscreen, bug repellant, snacks and water.  

If you are not yet a 2023 SIB member, you must first become a member by following the instructions on our website: or we request a $10 donation to SIB.

Once you are a member, register no later than Thursday February 2, 2023.  All registrants will receive a confirmation letter the day prior the event.

%d bloggers like this: