Small, compact grebe with thin pointed bill. Breeding adults mostly black with chestnut flanks; look for wispy golden plumes on cheek and peaked head shape. In winter, grayish overall with a dark cap blending into the dark cheek, and a smudgy dark neck. Red eye visible at close range. Breeds on marshy ponds and lakes; during migration and winter, often seen on large lakes, bays, and open ocean. Compare with Horned Grebe, especially in winter. Eared is thinner-necked and smaller-headed, with more peaked crown, darker cheek, and no pale tip on bill.