little grebe

little grebe

The little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) is also known as the dabchick and is the smallest member of the grebe family. It is a dumpy little bird with a rather blunt-looking rear, a feature often accentuated by the bird’s habit of fluffing up its rump feathers. From a distance, little grebes appear to be all black but through binoculars and in good light, you can make out a chestnut brown patch on the throat and side of the neck. The bird’s flanks can also show pale brown and the rear end of the bird is much lighter, almost white. The corners of the bill have a prominent yellow ‘gape’ mark. In winter, the birds lose this summer plumage and become pale buff on their lower quarters while their back is a dirty brown. Chicks are covered in light grey down and have a distinctive striped head and neck like most young grebes.[]


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