Little Grebe

Little Grebe


Profile Little Grebe     Literature page Little

[order] Podicipediformes | [family] Podicipedidae | [latin] Tachybaptus ruficollis | [UK] Little Grebe | [FR] Grèbe castagneux | [DE] Zwergtaucher | [ES] Zampullín Chico | [IT] Tuffetto | [NL] Dodaars

Dodaars determination

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As in most grebes, female marginally smaller. Chestnut throat, cheeks and foreneck separates from oter Tachybaptus. Iris red-brown, yellow in E Asia. Non-breeding adult paler, especially on throat and foreneck, which lackchestnut, Juvenile similar to non-breeding adult, but head striped black and whitish. Races separated mainly on size, amount of white in secondaries; also slight differences in coloration.

Wide range of wetlands normally small and shallow, including small lakes, ponds, canals. Sheltered bays, vegetated shores of larger lakes and reservoirs. Outside breeding season, occurs on more open waters, rarely on coast, also in estuaries protected from large waves.

Tachybaptus ruficollis is a widespread breeder across much of western and central
Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its
European breeding population is relatively large (>99,000 pairs), and was stable
between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in a few countries-notably the
sizeable Turkish population-during 1990-2000, populations in the vast majority of
its European range were stable or increased, and the species remained stable overall.

Mainly insects and larvae, especially mayflies, stoneflies, waterbugs, beetles. Also molluscs, crustaceans and amphibians. Feeds mainly by diving for 10-25 seconds to a depth of 1-2 m.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 470,000-2,600,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

Breeding season very variable, depending on growth of emergent vegetation and water level. The nest is floating platform of aquatic plants anchored to submerged vegetation.The female usually lays 4 eggs, and both parents share in the incubation

Resident, dispersive, and migratory. Less marked shift to coasts or large lakes for winter than in other European grebes. Some move to sheltered estuaries and harbours, accentuated in severe winters, but not normally seen in significant numbers on sea. Extent of movement in different parts of breeding range linked to winter temperatures.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 41 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 43 cm
  4. size min.: 23 cm
  5. size max.: 29 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 20 days
  8. incubation max.: 21 days
  9. fledging min.: 44 days
  10. fledging max.: 48 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 2
  13. eggs max.: 7
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Dodaars status Least Concern


  1. Tachybaptus ruficollis cotabato
  2. Mindanao (Philippines)
  3. Tachybaptus ruficollis philippensis
  4. Philippines (except Mindanao)
  5. Tachybaptus ruficollis poggei
  6. ne to se Asia, Kuril Is., Japan, Taiwan
  7. Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis
  8. Africa s of the Sahara, Madagascar
  9. Tachybaptus ruficollis iraquensis
  10. Iraq, sw Iran
  11. Tachybaptus ruficollis albescens
  12. Caucasus to Burma and Sri Lanka
  13. Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis
  14. Europe to the Ural Mts. and nw Africa
  15. Tachybaptus ruficollis
  16. EU, AF, OR widespread
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