Slavonian Grebe

Scientific name: Podiceps auritus

Did you know: The Slavonian Grebe is known for eating its own feathers, which help in digesting fish bones!

What Do Slavonian Grebes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Slavonian Grebes are remarkable for their golden ear tufts, a feature that has earned them the nickname ‘horned grebe’ in America. These birds, comparable in size to a moorhen, boast a length of about 31-36 cm and a wingspan of 62cm. 

Weighing around 410g, they have a distinctive appearance, especially in their breeding plumage, which includes golden ‘horns’, black cheeks, and a vibrant red neck and flanks. In contrast, their winter attire is a more subdued black and white, blending seamlessly with other grebe species.

Differences Between Male And Female Slavonian Grebes

Male and female Slavonian Grebes share similar plumage, with males being slightly larger and more vividly coloured. However, these differences are subtle, making it a bit of a challenge to distinguish between the two.

What Do Slavonian Grebes Eat?

These diving birds are adept hunters, preying on small fish and aquatic invertebrates. They showcase impressive agility underwater, using their large feet to navigate and catch their food. Interestingly, they consume their own feathers, which aid in filtering and digesting fish bones.

Where Do Slavonian Grebes Live? (inc. migration info)

Slavonian Grebes are rare nesting birds in the UK, primarily found in a few lochs in Scotland. During winter, they migrate to sea, frequenting most coasts. Their preferred habitats include freshwater, coastal areas, and wetlands, offering them ample opportunities for feeding and nesting.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Slavonian Grebes)

The vocalisations of Slavonian Grebes vary with age and purpose. Juveniles emit a trilled peeping sound, which matures into a chittering sound as they grow. Their distinctive calls, used for mating and territory defence, are loud, nasally, and end in a trill, becoming more subdued during migration and wintering.

Fun Slavonian Grebe Facts (kid friendly)

  • Slavonian Grebes have stunning golden tufts that resemble horns, which they can raise and lower.
  • They are expert divers, using their feet to swim underwater in search of food.
  • Unlike many birds, Slavonian Grebes eat their own feathers, which helps them digest their meals.
  • These grebes are one of the UK’s rarest nesting birds.
  • They have a unique voice that changes from a peep to a chitter as they grow up.
  • In breeding season, their neck and flanks turn a beautiful chestnut brown.

Slavonian Grebe Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Slavonian Grebe

Diet: Fish and insect larvae.
Bird Family: Grebes
Length: 31-38cm
Wingspan: 59-65cm
Weight: 360-450g
Scientific Name: Podiceps auritus

The Slavonian Grebe Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December