Author(s): John Pistone
Published: December 2015
I observed Least Grebes (Tachybaptus dominicus) at the western edge of the Coastal Sand Plain in South Texas. I witnessed both a foraging behavior and a parental care behavior, neither of which are reported in the scientific literature. The foraging behavior appears to be a cooperative feeding technique, employed to increase predator vigilance in open water areas, where one pair member remains vigilant while the other member dives for prey. The parental care behavior involved a formation whereby adults flanked each side of the clustered young to protect them while in particularly vulnerable areas (e.g., open water). An additional aspect of parental foraging behavior was exhibited in which one adult would stay with the young as the other foraged for food, with adults regularly switching roles. I also provide a brief assessment of the management or enhancement of the proper habitat targeted for South Texas land stewardship of Least Grebes.
Pistone, J. 2015. Observations of Least Grebe foraging and parental care behaviors. Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society 48:1–2.