Breeding male and female eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) look similar. Mostly black, these aquatic diving birds have crested head feathers, chestnut flanks and golden feathers fanning out behind their bright red eyes.
Eared grebes breed in shallow lakes and ponds, typically not bordered by trees and lacking fish. After an elaborate courtship display, the male and female together build a floating platform attached to reeds or other emergent vegetation in which up to eight whitish eggs are laid. The chicks hatch after about 21 days and leave the nest after the last egg has hatched.
Leonard and I saw this eared grebe pair near the visitor center at Tule Lake National Wildlife Reserve in Siskiyou County CA. We plan to return in a couple weeks with the hopes of seeing some eared grebe chicks.