Little grebe

The little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), also known as dabchick, is a member of the grebe family of water birds. The genus name is from Ancient Greek takhus "fast" and bapto "to sink under". The specific ruficollis is from Latin rufus "red" and Modern Latin -collis, "-necked", itself derived from Latin collum "neck".[2]

At 23 to 29 cm (9.1 to 11.4 in) in length it is the smallest European member of its family. It is commonly found in open bodies of water across most of its range.

Little grebe
Little grebe Zwergtaucher
In breeding plumage
Tachybaptus ruficollis - Bueng Boraphet
Breeding plumage. Feathers pressed against the body, for low buoyancy.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Podicipediformes
Family: Podicipedidae
Genus: Tachybaptus
T. ruficollis
Binomial name
Tachybaptus ruficollis
(Pallas, 1764)

Podiceps ruficollis


The little grebe was described by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas in 1764 and given the binomial name Colymbus ruficollis.[3][4][5] The tricolored grebe was considered conpecific, with some taxonomic authorities still considering it so. There are six currently-recognized subspecies, separated principally by size and colouration.[6][7]

  • T. r. ruficollis(Pallas, 1764): nominate, found from Europe and western Russia south to North Africa[8]
  • T. r. iraquensis(Ticehurst, 1923): found in southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran[8]
  • T. r. capensis(Salvadori, 1884): found in Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and the Indian subcontinent, extending east to Burma[8]
  • T. r. poggei(Reichenow, 1902): found from southeastern to northeastern Asia, Hainan, Taiwan, Japan, and south Kuril Islands[8]
  • T. r. philippensis(Bonnaterre, 1790): found in the northern Philippines[8]
  • T. r. cotabato(Rand, 1948): found on Mindanao[8]


The little grebe is a small water bird with a pointed bill. The adult is unmistakable in summer, predominantly dark above with its rich, rufous colour neck, cheeks and flanks, and bright yellow gape. The rufous is replaced by a dirty brownish grey in non-breeding and juvenile birds.

Juvenile birds have a yellow bill with a small black tip, and black and white streaks on the cheeks and sides of the neck as seen below. This yellow bill darkens as the juveniles age, eventually turning black in adulthood.

In winter, its size, buff plumage, with a darker back and cap, and “powder puff” rear end enable easy identification of this species. The little grebe's breeding call, given singly or in duet, is a trilled repeated weet-weet-weet or wee-wee-wee which sounds like a horse whinnying.


This bird breeds in small colonies in heavily vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe, much of Asia down to New Guinea, and most of Africa. Most birds move to more open or coastal waters in winter, but it is only migratory in those parts of its range where the waters freeze. Outside of breeding season, it moves into more open water, occasionally even appearing on the coast in small bays.[1]


The little grebe is an excellent swimmer and diver and pursues its fish and aquatic invertebrate prey underwater. It uses the vegetation skilfully as a hiding place.

Like all grebes, it nests at the water's edge, since its legs are set very far back and it cannot walk well. Usually four to seven eggs are laid. When the adult bird leaves the nest it usually takes care to cover the eggs with weeds. This makes it less likely to be detected by predators.[9] The young leave the nest and can swim soon after hatching, and chicks are often carried on the backs of the swimming adults.[10] In India, the species breeds during the rainy season.[11]


Little Grebe (or Dabchick), Tachbaptus ruficollis, at Marievale Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa - breeding plumage (21410502215)

Breeding plumage

LittleGrebe DSC0240

Nest at edge of lake in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Zampullín chico, polluelo Tachybaptus ruficollis


Tachybaptus ruficollis MWNH 1919

Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

Saverio Manetti, Ornithologia methodice digesta, per monchiani, firenze 1767-76, 048 colimbo minore



  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2017). "Tachybaptus ruficollis (amended version of 2016 assessment)". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T22696545A111716447. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 341, 377. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William (1979). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume (1 Second ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 143.
  4. ^ Sherborn, C. Davies (1905). "The new species of birds in Vroeg's catalogue, 1764". Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 47: 332–341 [339 No. 281]. Includes a transcript of the 1764 text.
  5. ^ Rookmaaker, L.C.; Pieters, F.F.J.M. (2000). "Birds in the sales catalogue of Adriaan Vroeg (1764) described by Pallas and Vosmaer". Contributions to Zoology. 69 (4): 271–277. doi:10.1163/18759866-06904005.
  6. ^ Ogilvie, Malcolm; Rose, Chris (2003). Grebes of the World. Bruce Coleman. ISBN 978-1-872842-03-5.
  7. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D., eds. (2014). "IOC World Bird List (v 4.4)". doi:10.14344/IOC.ML.4.4.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Clements, James (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World (6th ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9.
  9. ^ Prokop, Pavel; Trnka, Alfréd (2011). "Why do grebes cover their nests? Laboratory and field tests of two alternative hypotheses" (PDF). Journal of Ethology. 29: 17–22. doi:10.1007/s10164-010-0214-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-14.
  10. ^ Finn, Frank (1905). "Notes on the nesting of the Indian Dabchick". Bird Notes. 4: 10–17.
  11. ^ Dalgliesh, Gordon (1906). "Notes on the Indian Podicipedidae". The Avicultural Magazine. 5 (2): 65–72.

External links

Alaotra grebe

The Alaotra grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus), also known as Delacour's little grebe or rusty grebe, is an extinct grebe that was endemic to Lake Alaotra and surrounding lakes in Madagascar.

Australasian grebe

The Australasian grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) is a small waterbird common on fresh water lakes and rivers in greater Australia, New Zealand and on nearby Pacific islands. At 25–27 cm (9.8–10.6 in) in length, it is one of the smallest members of the grebe family, along with the least grebe and little grebe.

Blake's Pools

Blake's Pools are a 4 hectare nature reserve owned by Environment Agency and leased by the Avon Wildlife Trust, on the banks of the Congresbury Yeo close to its mouth, near Kingston Seymour, Somerset, in South West England

The three freshwater and brackish pools were dug between 1983 and 1987 to attract wildlife. It forms part of the Severn Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site. In spring 2001 part of the sea wall protecting the outer pool collapsed, creating a tidal lagoon. To control water levels, sluice gates have been fitted into the two shallow pools. Reeds have also been planted around the largest pool.

Over 100 species of bird have visited the reserve, and shelduck, redshank and lapwing often nest. During periods of low tide the expansive areas of mud attract birds such as the little grebe and little egret. The two shallower pools attract wading birds, especially green and common sandpipers. In winter, and variety of wildfowl feed at the site including smew, scaup, black-necked grebe and dunlin.

Cop Mere

Cop Mere is one of the largest natural bodies of water in Staffordshire, England. It has been designated a SSSI as an oligotrophic mire rich in Sphagnum moss, and other plant and animal life are present in sufficient numbers and rarities for it to have been designated as a protected area since 1968.

Cop Mere was created as a hollow in the Keuper marl of North Staffordshire/South Cheshire (which was laid down approx 200 million years ago, roughly) as a result of the retreat of the last ice age. It differs from other ponds and meres in the region because it sits on the route of the River Sow, the flow of which encourages the growth of algae necessary for the growth of freshwater mosses. The River Sow has been dammed upstream at Jackson's coppice from around AD 1250, which altered the flow of water and created a unique albeit man-made environment that encourages birdlife and fishlife. There is evidence that fishing in Cop Mere dates back at least to the reign of Henry VIII.The SSSI also includes a number of plants currently rare in Staffordshire, specifically herb paris (Paris quadrifolia) and the thin-spiked wood sedge, Carex strigosa. Birds commonly found on the mere include the reed warbler and sedge warbler, the great crested grebe and the little grebe, the sparrowhawk, and various woodpeckers.

Dairy Farm Nature Park

Dairy Farm Nature Park is a 63 hectare nature park located at 100 Dairy Farm Road, Upper Bukit Timah in Singapore.

Getterön Nature Reserve

Getterön Nature Reserve (Swedish: Getteröns naturreservat) is a nature reserve at Getterön in Varberg Municipality, Sweden. It consists of parts of the peninsula Getterön and an area to the north. It has an area of 350 hectares, of which 235 are land. The reserve was established in 1970.

Getterön Nature Reserve is protected as a Natura 2000 site and included in the Ramsar list.

Getterön Nature Reserve is one of northern Europe's premier birdwatching sites. In the reserve's wetland nesting species like gadwall, garganey, black-tailed godwit, ruff, dunlin, little tern, and pied avocet. The pied avocet also serves as a symbol for the nature reserve. Also in the winters there are many different species at Getterön, for example little grebe, water rail, common kingfisher, Eurasian bittern, bearded reedling, whooper swan, and smew. Also birds of prey, like the peregrine falcon, are common.


A grebe () is a member of the order Podicipediformes and the only type of bird associated with this order.Grebes are a widely distributed order of freshwater diving birds, some of which visit the sea when migrating and in winter. This order contains only a single family, the Podicipedidae, containing 22 species in six extant genera.

List of birds of Islamabad

This is a list of birds found in Islamabad, Pakistan. Seventy-two species of birds have been found in this area. The best places to watch are Margalla Hills and Rawal Lake.

Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis

Little cormorant, Microcarbo niger

Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo

Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

Indian pond heron (Paddybird), Ardeola grayii

Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis

Little egret, Egretta garzetta

Intermediate egret, Egretta intermedia

Grey heron, Ardea cinerea

Purple heron, Ardea purpurea

Common teal, Anas crecca

Black kite, Milvus migrans

Shikra, Accipiter badius

Long-legged buzzard, Buteo rufinus

Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus

Grey francolin, Francolinus pondicerianus

Common quail, Coturnix coturnix

Brown waterhen, Amaurornis akool

White-breasted waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus

Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus

Eurasian coot, Fulica atra

Red-wattled lapwing, Hoplopterus indicus

Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos

Black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus

Feral pigeon, Columba livia

Wood pigeon, Columba palumbus

Collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto

Palm dove, Spilopelia senegalensis

Spotted dove, Spilopelia chinensis

Rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri

Common koel, Eudynamys scolopacea

Greater coucal, Centropus sinensis

House swift, Apus affinis

White-throated kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis

Pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Hoopoe, Upupa epops

Lesser golden-backed woodpecker, Dinopium benghalense

Brown-fronted woodpecker, Dendrocopos auriceps

Crested lark, Galerida cristata

Small skylark, Alauda gulgula

Brown-throated sand martin, Riparia paludicola

Pale sand martin, Riparia diluta

Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica

Red-rumped swallow, Hirundo daurica

Paddyfield pipit, Anthus rufulus

Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea

White wagtail, Motacilla alba

Large pied wagtail, Motacilla maderaspatensis

Himalayan bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys

Red-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer

Dark-grey bushchat, Saxicola ferrea

Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius

Blue whistling thrush, Myophonus caeruleus

Fan-tailed warbler, Cisticola juncidis

Tawny prinia, Prinia inornata

Yellow-bellied prinia, Prinia flaviventris

Hume's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus humei

White-throated fantail, Rhipidura albicollis

Black-chinned babbler, Stachyris pyrrhops

Common babbler, Turdoides caudatus

Jungle babbler, Turdoides striatus

Great tit, Parus major

Bar-tailed treecreeper, Certhia himalayana

Oriental white-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus

Rufous-backed shrike, Lanius schach

Black drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus

House crow, Corvus splendens

Brahminy starling, Sturnus pagodarum

Common myna, Acridotheres tristis

Bank myna, Acridotheres ginginianus

House sparrow, Passer domesticus

Alexandrine parakeet, Psittacula eupatria

Green bee-eater, Merops orientalis

Rufous treepie, Dendrocitta vagabunda

Indian robin, Saxicoloides fulicatus

Lotus Pond

Lotus Pond is a small water body Inside MLA Colony, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, India. The pond is surrounded by lush green flora and a 1.2 kilometer path.

Lotus Pond is home to more than 20 species of birds. A few of them are pied kingfisher, white wagtail, common moorhen, little grebe, sunbirds, common coot, and little egret.

The pond is maintained by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

The Lotus Pond was conceived to be an eco-conservation project bringing natural elements into the concept of the project without disturbing the ecosystem and conserving the natural rocks and pond.

The launch of the construction of the project was on 20 November 1999. The work was completed in late 2001.

Madagascan grebe

The Madagascan grebe (Tachybaptus pelzelnii) is a grebe found only in western and central Madagascar. The binomial name commemorates the Austrian ornithologist August von Pelzeln. It is classified as endangered by the IUCN, with a population of less than 5,000. It is threatened by habitat loss, predation by carnivorous fish, and competition with introduced species.

Patna Bird Sanctuary

Patna Bird Sanctuary is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh's Etah district encompassing a lentic lake that is an important wintering ground for migrating birds. It was founded in 1991 and covers an area of 1.09 km2 (0.42 sq mi). With a lake area of only 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi), it is the smallest bird sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh.

The water quality of the lake supports a wide range of avifauna during winter season. The entire lake area gets covered by profuse growth of macrophytic vegetation of water hyacinth and Potamogeton species during summers.

About 200,000 birds of 300 different bird species frequent the sanctuary. More than 106 species of migratory and resident birds are known to have their resting habitats around the lake. The important aquatic birds inhabiting lake are:

Lesser whistling-duck

Graylag goose

Comb duck

Ruddy shelduck


Eurasian wigeon

Indian spot-billed duck

Northern shoveler

Northern pintail

Green-winged teal

Common pochard

Ferruginous duck

Baer's pochard

Tufted duck

Indian peafowl

Common quail

Black francolin

Gray francolin

Little grebe

Asian openbill

Woolly-necked stork

Black-necked stork

Little cormorant

Great cormorant

Purple heron

Cattle egret

Indian pond-heron

Black-headed ibis

Red-naped ibis

Eurasian spoonbill

Black-shouldered kite

Egyptian vulture

Booted eagle

Bonelli's eagle


Black kite

Eurasian coot

Sarus crane

Black-winged stilt

Black-tailed godwit

Laughing dove

Greater coucal

Rose-ringed parakeet

Plum-headed parakeet

Long-tailed shrike

Black drongo

Rufous treepie

Ashy-crowned sparrow-lark

Bengal bushlark

Red-vented bulbul

Plain leaf warbler

Ashy prinia

Plain prinia

Common babbler

Oriental magpie-robin

Brahminy starling

Common myna

Bank myna

Purple sunbird

Indian silverbill

Scaly-breasted munia

Stanford End Mill and River Loddon

Stanford End Mill and River Loddon is an area of natural grassland, between Beech Hill and Swallowfield in Berkshire, incorporating a stretch of the River Loddon and a mill built in early Victorian times on the Stratfield Saye estate. It was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1952, and expanded in 1986. The site is of interest mainly because of two rare plants: the fritillary (Fritillary meleagris), a native bulb, and the Loddon pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus), a rare aquatic plant. The area supports a wide range of native meadow plants, and the river supports a variety of coarse fish species, water voles and nesting birds, including little grebe, moorhen, coot, mute swan and kingfisher.

Stanton's Pit

Stanton's Pit is an 8.05-hectare Local Nature Reserve situated between Little Bytham and Witham-on-the-Hill, villages in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire. It is owned and managed by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. The reserve mostly comprises a disused sand pit with adjacent grasslands which was donated by its former owner to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust so that it could be classified as a Local Nature Reserve. It has been designated as such on the basis of its ornithological interest, with 50 species of birds recorded visiting the site and 19 breeding, including little grebe, little ringed plover, sand martin, turtle dove and lesser whitethroat. Wading birds known to occupy the site in autumn include little stint, ruff and spotted redshank, greenshank, and common, curlew, green and wood sandpipers. Stanton's Pit is suspected to be situated on a migratory route from The Wash to Rutland Water. The site is bounded to the north by a minor road between Little Bytham and Witham-on-the-Hill, to the south and west by farmland and to the east by Bush Lees wood.

Tricolored grebe

The tricolored grebe (Tachybaptus tricolor) is a bird in the Podicipedidae family sometimes considered conspecific with the little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis). It is native to maritime Southeast Asia and Australasia. The IOC has split the bird, however other taxonomic authorities still consider the birds conspecific.

WWT London Wetland Centre

WWT London Wetland Centre is a wetland reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in the Barnes area of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, southwest London, England, by Barn Elms. The site is formed of four disused Victorian reservoirs tucked into a loop in the Thames.

The centre first opened in 2000, and in 2002 an area of 29.9 hectares was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest as the Barn Elms Wetland Centre.The centre occupies more than 100 acres (40 hectares) of land which was formerly occupied by several small reservoirs. These were converted into a wide range of wetland features and habitats before the centre opened in May 2000. It was the first urban project of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Many wild birds which have now made their home in the Centre cannot be found anywhere else in London, and there are nationally significant numbers of gadwall and northern shoveler. Other wild birds include Eurasian bittern, northern pintail, northern lapwing, water rail, ring-necked parakeet, Eurasian sparrowhawk, sand martin, common kingfisher, little grebe and great crested grebe. The centre also holds a collection of captive wildfowl.

It is host to regular lectures and events concerned with preserving Britain's wetland animals and was featured on the BBC television programme Seven Natural Wonders in 2005 as one of the wonders of the London area, with a focus on the region's parakeets, in an episode presented by Bill Oddie. The site contains a large visitors' building which is occasionally used as a wedding venue.

In 2012 London Wetland Centre was voted Britain's Favourite Nature Reserve in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.

Weir Wood Reservoir

Weir Wood Reservoir is a 153.5-hectare (379-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest west of Forest Row in East Sussex. It is in High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an area of 32.6 hectares (81 acres) is a Local Nature Reserve which is owned by Southern Water and managed by East Sussex County Council and Southern Water.This is one of the largest bodies of open water in the county and it has rich and diverse communities of breeding, wintering and passage birds. Breeding birds include great crested grebe, teal, mute swan, tufted duck, little grebe, reed warbler, sedge warbler, coot and moorhen.Weir Wood is also home to a sailing club and a fishing lodge.

Wildlife of Tamil Nadu

There are more than 2000 species of fauna that can be found in Tamil Nadu. This rich wildlife is attributed to the diverse relief features as well as favorable climate and vegetation in the Indian state. Recognizing the state's role in preserving the current environment, the government has established several wildlife and bird sanctuaries as well as national parks, which entail stringent protective measures. Tamil Nadu is also included in the International Network of Biosphere Reserves, which facilitates international recognition and additional funding. Currently, there are five national parks and 17 sanctuaries that serve as homes to the wildlife.

Winnall Moors

Winnall Moors is an area of the flood plain of the River Itchen, immediately to the north of Winchester city centre.

The area is managed as a nature reserve by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. The southern section is owned by Winchester City Council and has been managed by HIWWT since the 1980s. The northern part was formerly farmed as low-intensity grazing, but was purchased by HIWWT following a public appeal, with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The site lies within the western end of the Countryside Agency’s plan for a South Downs National Park.Habitats on the site include chalk stream, tall fen, hay meadow and wet pasture. Plant life includes green-flowered helleborine, water crowfoot and lesser water-parsnip, purple loosestrife, yellow flag, various sedges, common reed and reed canary grass, fleabane, meadowsweet and fen bedstraw, southern marsh-orchid, yellow rattle and eyebright. Birds include little grebe, mute swan and mallard, reed and sedge warblers, gadwall, wigeon and snipe.

There are many different species of breeding dragonfly and damselfly including the broad-bodied chaser, common darter and banded demoiselle.

Îles Ehotilés National Park

Îles Ehotilés National Park is a national park in the Sud-Comoé region of Ivory Coast. The park consists of a group of low islands and the intervening channels which separate Aby Lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean. The national park was established in 1974 on the initiative of the local communities.

The archipelago consists a set of six islands (Assokomonobaha, Balouate, Meha, Nyamouan, Elouamin and the sacred island Bosson Assoun) located in the estuarine area. This archipelago covers an area of 722 hectares (1,780 acres), not including the surrounding sea area.The vegetation of the islands is very varied for such a small area; the coastal zone is mostly dominated by mangroves, and the interior is largely tropical forest with a dense understorey. 128 species of bird in 35 families have been recorded here. Most of these are aquatic species, and in the dry season migratory species also visit the park. Resident species include little grebe, African darter, reed cormorant, cattle egret, squacco heron, striated heron, western reef heron, black-crowned night heron, woolly-necked stork and white-faced whistling duck.The park is also home to mammals typically inhabiting forest zones, such as duikers and bushpigs, as well as two species that give the park its uniqueness. One of these is the manatee, an aquatic mammal characteristic of the Ivorian lagoons, which is globally threatened with extinction; the other is the colony of straw-coloured fruit bats which roosts on Balouate Island, the local people believing these animals to be a sign of the presence of their ancestors. Additionally, there are a great variety of other bats, and the islands are home to the spotted-necked otter and the African clawless otter. The archaeological and historical sites on the islands are also protected.

The Ehotile Islands were designated a Ramsar site in 2005 under the name Iles Ehotilé-Essouman, and a proposal was submitted to UNESCO for consideration of the site as a possible World Heritage Site in 2006.The population bordering the park is divided between 21 villages and is officially estimated at 32,103 people, or 32% of the total population of the department. Tourism is the only occupation permitted on the islands and fishing is the main activity outside the protected area.

Grebes (order: Podicipediformes · family: Podicipedidae)
Birds (class: Aves)
Fossil birds
Human interaction


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