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2

Great Crested Grebe

(Podiceps cristatus)
Alternate name(s): "Crested Grebe", "Tippet Grebe", "Loon", "Gaunt"; Misnomer: "Carr Goose"
Aboriginal name(s): "kali" (WA)

Size: 47-61 cm; wing span 59-73 cm
Weight: 0.9-1.5 kg
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Great Crested Grebe at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "australis"

ADULT

BREEDING

Frontal view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage, i.e. with prominent crest and neck frill
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Frontal view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage, with its head turned sideways
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Near-frontal view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, January 2011]

Great Crested Grebe seen still wet, shortly after resurfacing from a dive
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, January 2011]

Near-lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Kingaroy, QLD, October 2015]

Lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

Near-dorsal view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Dorsal view of a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage, i.e. with prominent crest and neck frill
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Depending on how the Great Crested Grebe erects its feathers, its neck can appear to be kinked
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

This view, while preening, clearly shows the double-lobed crest and neck frill of a Great Crested Grebe
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

Great Crested Grebe resting on open water
[Split Rock Dam, near Manilla, NSW, May 2013]


Great Crested Grebe stretching and yawning after its rest
[Split Rock Dam, near Manilla, NSW, May 2013]

Eurasian Coots getting very close did not disturb the resting Great Crested Grebe
[Split Rock Dam, near Manilla, NSW, May 2013]

About half the population of Great Crested Grebes found on this water storage dam
[New Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, October 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a sub-adult Great Crested Grebe
[New Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, July 2016]

Dorsal view of a sub-adult Great Crested Grebe
[New Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, July 2016]

Juvenile Great Crested Grebe, still ruffled from its last dive
[Macquarie Marshes NR, NSW, April 2011]

Two juvenile Great Crested Grebes; note how the plumage of the bird in the foreground (out-of-focus) is not as well developed yet as that of the bird at the back
[Macquarie Marshes NR, NSW, April 2011]

Great Crested Grebe with juvenile in tow (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bushell's Lagoon, Wilberforce, near Sydney, NSW, May 2016]

Juvenile Great Crested Grebe (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bushell's Lagoon, Wilberforce, near Sydney, NSW, May 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Nov - Jan Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: 23 - 26 days Fledging age: N/A

Great Crested Grebe chicks are precocial, i.e. they leave the nest shortly after hatching. During the first few days they usually return to the nest; later they ride on the backs of their parents, especially when seeking protection.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Aquatic plants Height above ground: N/A

Great Crested Grebe nests are partially floating mounds of pieces of aquatic plants built up from an underwater object. When leaving the nest, grebes will usually pull some leaves over the eggs to cover them.

Near-lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe on its nest (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, January 2015]

Lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe on its nest in a relaxed stance (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, January 2015]

Lateral view of a Great Crested Grebe on its nest in a more alert stance (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, January 2015]

When you want the location of your nest to be secret, you cannot just chop down reeds for building the nest platform in the immediate surroundings - Great Crested Grebe carrying nesting material across a lake
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 52 x 36 mm Colour: Creamy to dark-brown Shape: Tapered oval

Grebe eggs start off with a relatively light colour. Since the shell is absorbent, they take on colour from the nesting material, turning progressively darker as incubation progresses.

Behaviour

Social behaviour: ? Mobility: Vagrant/dispersive Elementary unit: Solitary

Pair of Great Crested Grebes in their typical bonding ritual (photo courtesy C. Hayne)

Great Crested Grebe resting on a suburban lake (photo courtesy J. Greaves)
[Perth, WA, December 2014]

Great Crested Grebes are very good divers that can cover large distances under water and stay below the surface for a long time.

Great Crested Grebe going for a dive
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

This Great Crested Grebe has been digging dirt
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

We have not seen this in Australia yet and have not found this behaviour described in guides, but their European cousins carry their chicks on their backs while floating on the water's surface.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

crgrebe_20161218.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
? © MD
crgrebe_20161218_2.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
? © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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