Pied-billed Grebe – More Than A Mouthful

During a recent visit to the Viera Wetlands, I happened across a Pied-billed Grebe that had caught a decent sized meal. Click an image to view larger.

Lunch Is Served

After successfully capturing the beast, he paraded around while waiting for it to expire.

Proud Grebe

As he began to consume the fish, it became apparent that there might be a small problem.

Down The Hatch

Now, I’m no expert on such matters, but it seems to me that this fish might be more than a mouthful. A Pied-billed Grebe is only 13 inches long and weight about a pound. Usually you see them with smaller fish, shrimp or crustaceans for their meal.

More Than A Mouthful

So he tries again to get the beast down. In fact, he worked hard at this for 15 minutes before I decided I had shot enough frames.

If At First You Don't Suceed

When I left him, he had a forlorn look on his face as he contemplated his next move.

What To Do Next?

Although I didn’t stay for the conclusion of this epic battle, I’m pretty sure he didn’t get this one down. It isn’t uncommon for birds to swallow more than it seems that they are able to handle. But I have also heard of large fish like this getting stuck halfway down and the bird not being able to expel the prey. When that happens, the bird will likely drown if it is unable to get out of the water or expel the prey. All part of the circle of life. I half expected with all the thrashing this grebe was doing that he would attract a gator. With his attention on getting the prey down, a gator could have easily caught up with him.


  • Jess Yarnell

    February 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Wow, what a little piggie! Nice shots. Hope to see you on the trails soon.

  • Ayla Buonaparte

    May 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I cannot believe how beautiful and how clear all your shots are. Found a link to your blog on an old Gary Scott email, started with me wanting to see your coyote photos, he had one on his website. Love all the birds. I live on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Everyday here we have ravens (we call them crows here), magpies, butcherbirds, yellow rosellas, rainbow lorikeets, sulphur-crested cockatoos, drongoes, kookaburras, egrets, herons, moorhens, bushknees, galahs, minas, currawongs, noisy miners, blue-faced honeyeaters, friar birds, pheasant coucals, wonga pigeons, crested pigeons, feral pigeons, spotted turtle-doves and many more. Even though it’s suburbia, I’m lucky enough to live opposite a small floodplain and near a golf course and polo grounds. It’s not unusual to walk out onto my front balcony in the evening and find a kookaburra parked on the railing who barely raises an eyebrow at my appearance. Five of them often squat all along my back fence. Your photos made me realise I am mad not to have my camera out.