R3beccaf's picture

Strange grebe behaviour

Observed: 1st July 2012 By: R3beccafR3beccaf’s reputation in BirdsR3beccaf’s reputation in Birds
Grebe behaviour
Grebe back
Grebe side

A couple of grebes have lived on our local lake for years. They currently have two fairly mature chicks, and have changed their behaviour. Instead of spending their time on the lake and the local brook, they have moved to the small weir - less than a metre in height - which is the weir outflow. Every day we see 1-4 of them at the foot of the weir, paddling furiously against the water flow. It seems to me that the water is too foamy at that point for them to spot any prey, but they have persisted in this behaviour for several weeks.
In the first picture here the bird has its head tucked back in a very awkward position. It isn't sleeping or preening because it is paddling furiously to stay in the same spot. It wasn't an injury or disability because, after a couple of minutes, it moved its head back to a more normal position as shown in the other pictures.
Any ideas about what is going on? Why pick such an odd spot to fish? Why was the bird holding its head in that way?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) interacts


chrisbrooks's picture

Latin name

Hi, you should add a scientific name by pressing the "get recommended" tab when adding an ID.

ophrys's picture


It's quite likely that the weir is attracting a lot of fish. In summer, when the water heats up, weirs, with their highly oxygenated water, are very attractive to fish of all sizes. The position of the neck in the first picture does not look that unusual to me...they quite often rest with the neck back and the beak tucked into the breast feathers.

Nice pictures.


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