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Great Crested Grebe | Podiceps cristatus

The Great Crested Grebe is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Podicipedidae bird family group which includes birds such as Grebes.

The description for the Great Crested Grebe (Latin name Podiceps cristatus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Podiceps cristatus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 6 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 561. You will find a picture of the Great Crested Grebe on page 544.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Great Crested Grebe between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Great Crested Grebe has a height of 50 cms and weighs around 600 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured red. The Podiceps cristatus has a white coloured throat, black legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are crimson.

The male Podiceps cristatus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black

Eyes are crimson

Bill is red

Legs are black

Throat is white

Back is black

Feeding Habits ...

This birds forages for fish and other aquatic dwellers through surface sizing and diving for food in the water.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Great Crested Grebe is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 7 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The Great Crested Grebe is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

You can see the Great Crested Grebe bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds

The Great Crested Grebe is a very rare bird that can only be seen out at sea following fish vessels. It can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean.

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Great Crested Grebe is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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