Clark's? Western? Or both?

Richard Bradus

Hi all

I've been seeing a lot of "Western type" Grebes lately that have me confused, mostly the typical wintertime variants with black that goes down to the eye (or gray that covers the eyes and upper cheek), in between what we consider true Clark's or Westerns. But this one (seen Dec. 17 in the waters off the eastern end of the Golden Gate Yacht Club Lagoon) is a bit more interesting:

Inline image
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It has the facial pattern of a Clark's (mostly) and a fair amount of white mottling on the back, yet the bill is that greenish yellow color characteristic of a Western. I've been told (and have also read in a couple of sources) that bill color (and shape to some extent) is the best determinant as to species, but this one looks like a true "intergrade" to me. I think it is a hybrid. So a call out to experts or other interested parties: any thoughts?


And to all a wonderful holiday.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

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