Sunday, 31 May 2015

Day 209 - Lovely Little Grebes

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
It was a bit far away to get really good shots, sorry
Hi all today's Day 209 and I have recently been at Blacktoft Sands (an RSPB reserve) where I definitely got some material for a few blog posts. Today's post features a bird that is closely related to one of my favourite birds which I covered in yesterday's post and on Days 68 and 206. Yes the Great-Crested Grebe. But today's post is not a part 4 of that 'series' but a completely different bird. From the title and pictures you'll know that today's post is about Little Grebes!

So, here are the facts:
  • They are resident all over the UK apart from South-West England, The Shetlands and Orkney. Interestingly, they are found right on the tip of Land's End.
  • They are an Amber Status bird as there has been a very recent population decline. You know it was very recently as they were a Green Status last assessment.
  • This population decline has taken them all the way down to between 3,900 and 7,800 breeding pairs and around 17,000 wintering birds.
  • One of their names 'dabchick' is the only bird name to have the three letters of the alphabet occurring in a row. dABChick.
    You can just make out its chestnut throat and neck
    - this is it's breeding plummage
  • They have a length of just 27cm and the small wingspan of 42cm. This is actually quite small for a wading bird.
  • Both Male and Female birds weigh a minuscule (for a wader) 140g. Their egg weighs a huge 10% of this at around 13.7g.
  • Still on the subject of size, the ring size that Little Grebes have is either E or F. Probably depending on the size difference in gender.
  • They have a couple of threats. They are susceptible to Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and they are hunted for commercial reasons - they are sold as food in Iran :-(  and also for recreation :-(((
    It didn't hang around when this Marsh Harrier flew over
  • As I said they are also know as dabchicks and Shakespeare wrote about them but he called them dive-dappers.
  • They are great divers and can remain submerged for half a minute. also if they are alarmed they will dive under the water or submerge themselves until just their head is above water.
  • Just like the bigger Great Crested Grebe their legs are quite far back on their bodies meaning they are not very good at walking on land. They rarely go onto land except to breed.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Lovely post, these birds are so sweet. I hope I can find some! - Tasha