What are the characteristics of the little grebe?

            The little grebe also called the dabchick is a common breeding bird in India. It is a small, short water bird with an overall brown plumage. They are around 20 to 30 cm in length and are the smallest European member of their family. Its flanks and neck are of a slightly of lighter shade. The necks of younger birds have some stripes.

            Little grebes produce a high-pitched vibrating sound. These birds prefer open water bodies and are found in scattered flocks in winter. They are very shy and if they are disturbed, they will either dive into water or just hide in vegetation. They are very skillful in camouflaging themselves among plants.

            They are not much interested in flying and even if they are, they do it after walking a few gentle steps. But their legs are placed very far back in their body which makes it difficult for them to walk well. Therefore, they always make their nests at the water’s edge. They are very good at swimming and diving and hence, can chase their preys under water. Fish is their primary diet. But their preys can also be other edible invertebrates in water.