Name: the great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) is a water bird famous for its elaborate mating display.
Appearance: the great crested grebe is an elegant waterbird with distinctive chestnut and black head plumes (in summer). Adults are unmistakable with their eye-catching head and neck decorations. Their young have striped black and white heads although they lose these stripes as they grow older.
Size: great crested grebes are the largest member of the grebe family outside of America. They measure around 50 cm long with a wingspan up to 70 cm.
Diet: grebes are excellent swimmers and chase after their prey underwater. They mainly feed on fish, but also take small crustaceans, insects, frogs, and newts.
Did you know: great crested grebes have an elaborate mating display – shaking their heads at each other and swimming together in a beautiful water ballet. They were almost hunted to extinction in the UK in the 19th century for their beautiful head plumes, which were used to decorate hats and ladies’ undergarments! The RSPB was set up to help protect this species, and it’s now a common sight once again.
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see great crested grebes in the following places:
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Photo credit: susnpics under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay