Colymbus ruficollis, Pallas, 1764, Holland. Nine subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Common grebe, red-throated little grebe, dabchick; French: Grиbe castagneux; German: Zwergtaucher; Spanish: Zampullнn Comъn.
9.8–11.4 in (25–29 cm); 0.26–0.53 lb (117–241 g). Adult breeding: breast, chin, lores, cap and rest of upperparts blackish, cheeks, throat and side of neck rufous. Sides and flanks dusky more or less washed with rufous, belly variable according to subspecies, ranging from silvery white to black. Most forms have no white in wing, some a small patch on inner secondaries. Bill black-tipped white and with pale yellow wattle at base, eyes red in most of range, yellow in east Asia. Nonbreeding dull brownish, throat and belly whitish, immature similar but with striped neck.
T. r. ruficollis: Europe and northwest Africa; T. r. iraquensis: Iraq and southwest Iran; T. r. capensis: Africa south of the Sahara, Madagascar, Caucasus and eastwards through India to Myanmar; T. r. poggei: southeast and northeast Asia; T. r. philippensis: northern Philippines; T. r. cotabato: southeast Philippines; T. r. tricolor: Sulawesi to north New Guinea; T. r. vulcanorum: Java to Timor; T. r. collaris: northeast New Guinea to Solomon Islands.
Mostly small and shallow lakes and ponds, but also along vegetated shores of larger lakes. When not breeding, sometimes on more open water, rarely on coast.
Pairs may reside on the same pond all year, but non-breeding birds may assemble in loose groups of 5–30, occasionally hundreds.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Usually feeds within 3.3 ft (1 m) of surface, often just peering and picking with head and neck under water or picking from the surface. Diet variable, but mainly insects. Also takes small fish and, unlike most grebes, substantial numbers of snails.
Courtship display poorly developed and partly replaced by vocal duetting given with remarkable synchrony. Eggs 2–7, usually 4; often two, sometimes three broods a year. Incubation 20–25 days, young stay in nest for a week and can fly when 44–48 days old. They sometimes help feed older siblings.
Not threatened. Widespread and generally common.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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