The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) is a freshwater wetland bird.
The Great Crested Grebe has a white face and white throat, with dark-brown and chestnut brown at the back of its neck. Its crown is grey-brown with a large crest. Its back is grey-brown with chestnut patches. It has dark eyes, a dark beak, and dark legs.
It is the largest species of the Grebe family, measuring 46-51 centimetres (18-20 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 59-73 centimetres (23-29 inches).
The Great Crested Grebe is native to Europe and Asia. It prefers freshwater lakes. It migrates in winter, and flies south to warmer locations.
It is an excellent swimmer and diver, and chases fish underwater. It eats fish, crabs, insects, frogs, and newts. Its legs are towards the back of its body, and not centered, which means that it cannot walk very well on land, so it stays mainly on the water.
The Great Crested Grebe nests on the water’s edge. Females lay 2 eggs. The chicks are fluffy and striped. The chicks often ride on their mother’s back or their father’s back, although they can swim and dive almost immediately after hatching.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM