Little_Grebe.jpg (75171 bytes)Australasian or Little Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae): is a small water bird between 23-26 centimetres long. There are two distinct plumage stages. During the non-breeding phase the plumage, of both male and female, is grey-brown above, a silvery-grey beneath with a white, oval patch of bare skin at the base of the bill. In the breeding season males and females have glossy black heads and a chestnut facial stripe that reaches from behind the eye to the base of the neck. Also the eye darkens and the patch of skin becomes pale yellow and more prominent.

Little Grebes may have three broods in a season. Pale blue eggs are laid in a mounded, floating nest of vegetation. The chicks are striped, downy and able to swim at birth. When disturbed the chicks will climb onto the parents back and hide in their feathers.

Their diet consists of small fish and aquatic insects. They usually catch their prey by diving sometimes up to a depth of three metres and often appearing on the surface ten metres away.

Little Grebes when disturbed dive rather than fly and appear at some distance when they resurface.

Little Grebes are found throughout Australia as well as Indonesia, New Guinea and New Caledonia.

They are frequent visitors to the big dam at Yallaroo. In the winter of 2011 three individuals spent a few weeks on the dam.

 

Wildlife