Family Podicipedidae (Grebes)
Species Tachybaptus ruficollis (Pallas, 1764)
Length 25-29 cm.
Wingspan 40-45 cm.
Lifespan up to 10 years.
A rather dumpy water bird, with a blackish cap, back and breast, and a chestnut-red face. The nest is a pile of weed on the water anchored to vegetation. The female lays 4 to 6 eggs in 1 brood from April to June.To feed it dives beneath the surface of the water for long periods, searching for fish and large invertebrates.
Seen all year round on ponds, lakes, canals and rivers, and also seen along the coast in winter. Locally common and widespread throughout Britain.
Place: Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve, West Midlands. December 2013. © Peter Hillman