22. January 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Birds


At my favourite local nature reserve there are currently Little grebes fishing successfully in the margins. To be clear a "Little grebe" is a specific species of diving duck bird, not just a Grebe that's little. It's sometimes known as a Dabchick. They really are very little – only about half the length of a Mallard, and extremely cute. In the breeding season they have a more distinctively marked and coloured head and neck, but retain a fluffball appearance most of the time. It's amazing that they can spend so much time scooting around underwater but still maintain such a soft and downy look.

The picture above was actually taken in a previous year, but this is exactly what you'll see on many a lake in the country right now. They quite often seem to struggle to get the fish down their throats, spending literally minutes juggling them, or bringing them back up for another try.

Update: 'Blackbird' correctly points out in the comments that a Little grebe is not in any way a duck!

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  1. Little Grebes are unrelated to ducks, they belong to an altogether different order, Podicipediformes, characterised by their peculiar lobed toes. They are a diving bird species.

  2. You’re right of course – thanks for pointing that out. Post has been updated.

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