Great Crested Grebe

Podiceps cristatus

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

A beautiful and most elegant waterbird with ornate head plumes which has a magnificent courtship display where they move their head from side to side. It has a white face with shows of chestnut, white neck and breast, a dark brownish back, and a very pointed pink bill. The juveniles have a distinctive striped head and their body is pale grey.

To feed these birds dive beneath the surface of the water for long periods, searching for fish and large invertebrates. The nest is a pile of weed on the water anchored to vegetation. It lays 3-4 eggs in 1 brood, February to June. They can live for up to 15 years.

Seen all year round, on large lakes, reservoirs, and large rivers. They may also be seen along the coast in winter. They are common and widespread throughout lowland Britain.

Photograph of Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) taken October 2011, local canal, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.