What is a grebe bird look like? How do grebes live, features of them. Information about grebe birds.
Grebe; A very handsome diving bird of British lakes and large ponds is the great crested grebe, which has two dark tufts of feathers above its ears and in summer lovely ruffs, or Mis, of long chestnut feathers on its cheeks. It is nearly 20 inches in length including the long neck, which is held erect in the water, and the long pointed beak. Its back is dark brown, but sometimes the bird rolls over in the water to preen, or clean, its feathers, showing its white underparts. The wings are small and have to be flapped rapidly in the air. When alarmed, however, the bird usually dives and swims underwater, reappearing nearer the centre of the lake. It also dives for fish and weeds which, with insects, make up a large part of its food. Its various calls include a shrill trumpeting bark, repeated, and a loud groaning sound.
Great crested grebes also display together in an unusual way. Sometimes a pair face each other, with “ears” held erect and ruffs spread out, and then solemnly shake their heads from side to side or rise in the water breast to breast. This kind of courtship may be seen in most months of the year but, in spring, leads to the building of the nest, a floating mound of dead reeds and water weeds among the reeds or other water plants. The three to five eggs are white when laid, from April onwards, but on leaving the nest the birds cover them with weeds and this makes them a dirty colour. The chicks have attractive black and white stripes and can often be seen riding on their parents’ backs. The birds usually spend the winter on the larger reservoirs or on the coast.
The little grebe, or dabchick, is actually more common, being found on all kinds of still and slow-running water. It is not always noticed, however, for it is much smaller and dark brown above in summer, with chestnut on its cheeks, throat and the front of its neck. When alarmed, it may dive without a ripple and then just poke its head up among the reeds until danger has passed. It has a trilling note and lives and nests very much like its larger relative. Both are found in many countries of Europe and Asia.
Two other grebes nest in the British Isles : the black-necked grebe and the Slavonian grebe, which also breeds in America. However, they are better known as winter visitors, with the red-necked grebe from Europe. The best-known American grebe, however, is the pied-billed kind and the most unusual is the one that lives only on Lake Titicaca, in the Andes Mountains, and which cannot fly.