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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Red-necked Grebe

Podiceps grisegena

  • Family: Grebes – Podicipedidae
  • Appearance: Slightly smaller than Great Crested Grebe, with a shorter and thicker neck. Beak often held pointing downwards, shorter and more wedge-shaped than beak of Great Crested Grebe.
  • Size: Length 40–46 cm, wingspan 77–85 cm, weight 800–925 g.
  • Nest: Floating raft of decaying vegetation, anchored to aquatic plants. This nest material may initially stain the birds’ white eggs brownish.
  • Breeding: Lays 3–5 eggs in May. Both parents incubate, for 22–24 days. Fledglings become self-sufficient within 8–10 weeks.
  • Distribution: Breeds in Finland as far north as Southern Lapland on lakes and also some sea bays. Finnish breeding population estimated at 6,000–8,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Leaves Finland August-September, returning from late April. Usually winters around the North Sea and in the Mediterranean, though some birds may remain in Finland.
  • Diet: Fish, crustaceans, shellfish and tadpoles.
  • Calls: Noisy, particularly during breeding season. Harsh squealing or howling calls, not unlike the sound of a pig.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened.

Mature Red-necked Grebes have black caps, greyish cheeks and throats (white on Great Crested Grebe). Their necks, breasts and flanks are reddish brown and their backs are dark grey. Black beaks have yellowish bases. Legs are black and toes lobed. Irises are dark brown. Young Red-necked Grebes generally resemble young great Crested Grebes, but they have shorter, reddish-brown necks (white on Great Crested) and dark beaks (yellowish brown on young Great Crested). In their winter plumage, Red-necked Grebes have black caps, grey cheeks, white colouring on their throats extending to the backs of their necks, grey necks and flanks, and brownish-grey backs. The winter plumage of adults almost totally lacks the characteristic reddish-brown summer colouring.

Red-necked Grebes start their dives with a little jump. They often carry their young on their backs or under their wings.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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