Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2abce+3bce+4abce

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Vulnerable A2abce+3bce+4abce
2016 Vulnerable A2abce+3bce+4abce
2015 Vulnerable A2abce+3bce+4abce
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 52,900,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 97,300,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals poor estimated 2012
Population trend decreasing suspected 2006-2027
Decline % (10 years/3 generations future) 30-49 - - -
Decline % (10 years/3 generations past and future) 30-49 - - -
Generation length (years) 7.1 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c. 239,000-583,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2012). The European population is estimated at 6,400-9,200 pairs, which equates to 12,900-18,500 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe holds <10% of the global population with a similar proportion in Asia.

Trend justification: This species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (-75.9% decline over 40 years, equating to a -29.9% decline per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). Overall it is highly likely that the population has declined by >30% over the last three generations (COSEWIC 2009). The relatively small European population is estimated to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% in three generations (21.3 years) (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan extant uncertain
Albania extant native yes
Algeria extant vagrant
Armenia extant vagrant yes
Austria extant native yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Belarus extant native yes yes
Belgium extant native yes
Bermuda (to UK) extant vagrant
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant vagrant
Bulgaria extant native yes
Canada extant native yes yes
China (mainland) extant native
Croatia extant native yes
Cyprus extant vagrant
Czechia extant native yes
Denmark extant native yes yes
Estonia extant native yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) extant native yes
Finland extant native yes yes
France extant native yes
Georgia extant native yes
Germany extant native yes yes
Gibraltar (to UK) extant vagrant
Greece extant native yes
Greenland (to Denmark) extant native yes
Hong Kong (China) extant vagrant
Hungary extant native yes
Iceland extant native yes
India extant vagrant
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Ireland extant native yes
Israel extant vagrant
Italy extant native yes
Japan extant native
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kuwait extant vagrant yes
Kyrgyzstan extant native yes
Latvia extant native yes
Lebanon extant vagrant yes
Libya extant vagrant
Lithuania extant native yes
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Mexico extant native
Moldova extant native yes
Mongolia extant native yes
Montenegro extant vagrant
Morocco extant vagrant
Netherlands extant native yes
North Korea extant native
North Macedonia extant native yes
Norway extant native yes yes
Pakistan extant vagrant
Poland extant native yes yes
Portugal extant vagrant
Romania extant native yes yes
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes yes
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Serbia extant vagrant
Slovakia extant native yes yes
Slovenia extant native yes
South Korea extant native
Spain extant native yes
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) extant native yes yes
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) extant vagrant
Sweden extant native yes yes
Switzerland extant native yes
Syria extant vagrant yes
Taiwan, China extant native
Tunisia extant vagrant
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant native yes
Ukraine extant native yes
United Kingdom extant native yes
USA extant native yes
Uzbekistan extant native

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Estonia Siiksaare-Oessaare bays
Latvia Engure lake
Iceland Myvatn - Laxa
Iceland Austara Eylendid
Iceland Vestmannsvatn og nagrenni
Iceland Oxarfjordur
Norway Leknes wetland system
Sweden Sjaunja
Iceland Utherad
Finland Elimyssalo
Russia (European) Valley of Sysola river
Russia (European) Adovo-Chugrumski wetland
France Littoral Augeron
France Anse du Fiers d'Ars en Ré
Germany Lower Inn: Haiming - Neuhaus including the Neuhaus, Egglfing, Ering, and Simbach reservoirs
Germany Starnberger See
Germany Ammersee
Germany Danube valley: Neu-Ulm - Lauingen incl. Faiminger Stausee, Donau-Moos, and Gundelfinger Moos
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Möhnesee
Denmark Ronne Banke
Russia (European) Druzhinnoe lake and its outskirts
Estonia Kõrvemaa
Estonia Kahtla-Kübassaare
Estonia Mullutu
Russia (Central Asian) Bystroistokskaya
Russia (Central Asian) Mayan lake
Russia (Central Asian) Dvuob'ye
Azerbaijan Aggyol
Russia (Central Asian) Kornilovsky pine forest
Russia (Central Asian) Lower Ob'
Russia (Central Asian) Taezhno-Mikhaylovsky
Latvia Lubans and fish-ponds
Russia (Central Asian) Ilmensky zapovednik
Russia (Central Asian) Dzhulukul' depression
Russia (European) Kamsko-Bakaldinskiye marshes
United Kingdom Loch Ashie
Kazakhstan Markakol State Nature Reserve
United Kingdom Exe Estuary
United Kingdom Loch Ruthven
United Kingdom Loch Tarff and nearby lochs
United Kingdom Scapa Flow
United Kingdom South Cornwall Coast
Russia (Central Asian) Upper streams of Ob' river
United Kingdom North Inverness Lochs
Russia (Central Asian) Baturino-Simansky area
Russia (Central Asian) Kondinskiye lakes
Russia (Central Asian) Watershed of the Mulym'ya and Bolshoy Tap rivers
Russia (Central Asian) Verkhne-Kondinsky zakaznik
Russia (Central Asian) Russkoye lake
Russia (Central Asian) Pershinsko-Manatkinsky area
Finland Suomenoja
Germany Greifswalder Bodden
Germany Pomeranian bay
Germany Wismar bay and Salzhaff
Germany Coast and lagoons of Western Pomerania
Germany Untermain
Kyrgyzstan Lake Chatyr-Kul
Poland East Border Waters
Poland Vistula river mouth
Poland Pomeranian bay
Norway Lake Leksdalsvatn
USA Prince William Sound
Denmark Rønne Banke
Norway Jæren
Norway Inner Trondheimsfjord
Norway Ørlandet
Norway Balsfjord
Norway Southern Snåsavatn & Lømsen
Norway Været
Norway Saltstraumen & Skjerstadfjorden
Norway Lista wetland system
Norway Tautra & Svaet
Norway Smøla archipelago
Japan Yakumo
Norway Reisa
Norway Straume wetland system
Netherlands Oostvoornse Meer
Netherlands Grevelingen
Netherlands Krammer-Volkerak
Netherlands Oosterschelde
Netherlands Delta Coast
China (mainland) Bayanbulak and Kaidu River Valley
Mexico Estero Santa Cruz
Estonia Lavassaare
Russia (Asian) Ol'khon area
Russia (Asian) Malakchan bay

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 1000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Wood & pulp plantations - Agro-industry plantations Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Oncorhynchus mykiss Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Podilymbus podiceps Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Abstraction of surface water (unknown use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Nutrient loads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Unknown Past Impact
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Podiceps auritus. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.