By indexer
3 years ago

Red-necked grebe

The red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena) is a winter visitor to eastern England and southeast Scotland, but it is only seen at its best during the summer, which it spends on the lakes of Denmark, Finland and Germany. In its winter plumage it is easily confused with the great crested grebe.

The preferred habitat of the red-necked grebe is small, shallow lakes with plenty of vegetation growing above the surface. Although it breeds on fresh water, it heads for estuaries or coastal marshes when visiting Great Britain.

The red-necked grebe is about 17 inches (43 cm) in length, being smaller and stockier than the great crested grebe. It has a thick neck and bill, which has a yellow base. The winter plumage is grey-brown, darker above than below. In summer it has a reddish-brown neck and breast.

Food for red-necked grebes consists of insects and their larvae, taken from the water or plants, and fish. The latter are caught by shallow diving or swimming with only the head submerged. Small fish are swallowed whole and larger fish killed by shaking or crushing against solid objects.

Red-necked grebes are strong fliers but they are rarely seen in flight because they tend to do so only at night, especially when making important journeys.

They are usually silent in Britain but very vocal during the breeding season.

The nest site is usually among water-plants such as reeds. Both partners build a floating nest from vegetation. Four or five eggs are laid and incubated for 20-23 days. The brood is looked after by both parents who divide the family between them. Fledging takes place at around 72 days.

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