Least Grebe

Tachybaptus dominicus

When I first visited south Texas in spring of 2020, the pandemic severely affected my birding plans. The Least Grebe was a species I’d hoped to meet, and south Texas offered my best hope of meeting them. When some of the birding venues opened up, I tried to find these smallest of grebes, but to no avail. I returned to the region in 2021, and found them at most places I visited in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The famine had turned to a feast!

South Texas is the only place in the USA where that hosts these birds. Most of the world’s population is south of the border with Mexico and includes the West Indies, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.

Modern science recognises five subspecies of Least Grebe. T. d. brachypterus lives in south Texas, Mexico, and Central America. T. d. bangsi lives in south Baja California (Mexico). T. d. Dominicus lives in the northern Caribbean and the West Indies. T. d. Brachyrhynchus lives across most of South America. T. d. eisenmanni lives in western Ecuador (South America).

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