Great-crested Grebe

Greater Crested Grebe    Podiceps cristatus


  • Podiceps : Latin word podicis – vent; pes -foot. { Legs are attached at extreme end of the body}
  • Cristatus : Latin word for crested derived from crista – crest, plume.

Vernacular Names : Ass: Shiva-hans, Guj: Chotili dubki, Chotili moti dubki, Mar: Turewala Dabchik, Mothi Tibukali

Distribution in India: Breeds in North West India and Ladhak, Winter Visitor in North, Central and Western parts of India

Description: Size of 46-51 cm. In breeding plumage it has black cap ending in an erectile crest, hind neck drab grey, broader on lower neck, becoming dark brown-grey on upperparts; upper wing similar, but has large white panel on marginal and lesser wing-coverts, and white band on secondaries, which are more or less connected by white band on outer scapulars; face, including lores and Superciliary region, and chin and throat white or pale cream, with dark line from eye to gape, sides of head framed at rear by tawny-rufous tippets with broad blackish tips; fore neck whitish, sides and flanks brownish grey mixed with rich tawny, abdomen white; underwing greyish on primaries, white elsewhere except dark grey-brown tertials; iris brownish red to dark red; bill blackish grey to pinkish grey; legs dark grey. Non-breeding adult   lacks tippets and is whiter on flanks. Sexes similar, but male tends to have larger bill and, when breeding, longer crest and tippets than female. Both the sexes are similar in plumage though the female is smaller than the male.

Habitat: For breeding it prefers fresh or brackish water fringed by vegetation, with sizeable sheets of open water for foraging. It readily accepts artificial waterbodies, including reservoirs, ponds, fish ponds, gravel pits and ornamental lakes; occurs also on slow-flowing stretches of rivers with backwaters or pools. During non-breeding season it disperses to coasts, estuaries and large, exposed lakes and reservoirs.

Food Habits: It eats mainly insects and larvae .Main foraging technique is diving, typically with pursuit, dives on average 18–26 seconds in duration, and performed in areas of open water or with scattered clumps of vegetation. Also feeds from surface with only head submerged, or picking insects off vegetation. Forages singly, in small groups and in large flocks, with large aggregations commonest in non-breeding period; double-figure groups of fishing grebes occur even during breeding period, apparently consisting of off-duty incubating individuals.

Breeding Habits:  They breed in July-Aug. Nest is a floating platform of aquatic plants anchored to submerged vegetation. Lays a clutch of 3-5 eggs, the incubation period is 25-31 days; fledging period 71-79 days, but young independent at 30–40 days