By indexer
17 days ago

Little grebe

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The little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), otherwise known as the dabchick, is found throughout the British Isles as well as most of Europe, parts of the Middle East, Asia and central and southern Africa. It is at home on any still or slow-flowing fresh water that has lush vegetation.

At 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) it is the smallest of the grebes, and also slightly smaller than the moorhen. It is a dumpy bird, with a rounded head and a shorter neck than other grebes.

Breeding plumage is dark brown with chestnut neck and cheeks. Winter plumage is brown with a darker crown and paler neck and cheeks. It is noticeable for the “powder puff” below the tail that is puffed up in some display postures. Females are duller in appearance than males.

The little grebe is a secretive bird that is more likely to dive than fly when alarmed. Until it is safe to emerge it may well stay underwater, with only the head poking above the surface.

Little grebes tend to fly more than other grebes, often flying low over the water. However, the flight feathers are lost as part of the post-breeding moult, so little grebes are flightless for around 3-4 weeks every year.

The most common call is a loud whinny or trill that is most frequently heard during territorial disputes or courtship. In the latter case, a pair may engage in a duet.

Food consists of small fish, such as minnows, insects and their larvae, and water snails. The food is hunted underwater from frequent dives. When a deeper dive is called for, the little grebe will jump up and enter the water with a splash.

Although little grebes tend to keep to themselves, during the breeding season they often congregate in colonies on favoured stretches of water. The nest comprises a heap of water plants that is either floating or loosely attached to a fallen branch in shallow water. Four to six eggs are laid, these being incubated by both parent birds and hatching in around 20 days. The young leave the nest soon after hatching but are looked after and fed by the parents for around 30-40 days, sometimes riding on the parents’ backs. They are able to fly at around 45 days.

The breeding season is often lengthy, with as many as three broods being raised in a good year.



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17d
AnceAne Really beautiful
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17d
17d
dorageorg 😃😃😃
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17d
17d
annie07 So beautiful
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17d
17d
jessabumagat20 Cute bird
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17d