Friday, April 10, 2020

Horned Grebe

Erika and I watched a Horned Grebe dive at the Bremerton Ferry on 14 February 2020. Grebe legs are so far back on their bodies that they can't walk on land. Their legs propel them into and through the water. They have lobed toes, which act as paddles on their back strokes and dives, but which fold into streamlined blades when moved forward.

Grebes are usually thought to be closely related to loons. Although ornithologists are not in complete agreement, many current studies suggest grebes are actually very closely related to flamingos! These morphological and genetic data suggest that these two apparently disparate families should be considered to be descended from the same ancestor and are, in fact, in the the same order of birds (Winkler et al. 2020),

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