The largest European grebes with a slender white neck in all plumages. In winter the face is mostly pale with just a narrow black, slightly crested, cap. In summer this pattern develops into elaborate black and chestnut plumes called tippets.
They dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying.
Their courtship displays are remarkable. Most commonly they involve both members of a pair facing each other on the water and repeatedly shaking their heads or quickly turning the head away and touching their back. Such birds may then swim away, dive for nesting material then swim towards each other with their necks out flat on the water in front of them.
When they meet, they rise up together as if they're standing on the water facing each other, beaks full of vegetation, waving their heads from side to side and paddling like fury with their feet.
The standing posture gives this the name of ‘Penguin display’
Like other grebes, they will carry their young on their backs.
Their diet includes, fish, insects, amphibians and occasionally vegetable matter.
Territory disputes can be vicious affairs, sometimes involving two or more birds,
The young are independent at about 6 weeks, having the ability to dive from a very early age, and are tended by both adults.
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