Grebes

 Podicipedidae

Grebes have fleshy feet set well back on the body, adapted for underwater manoeuvrability, but are unpractical for walking on land. Four species of these specialised waterbirds have been recorded in Australia. The Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus is endemic to Australia, while the Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus is represented in Australia by a single endemic subspecies, the Australian Great Crested Grebe P. c. australis. The Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae is found in Australia, NZ, PNG and some Pacific islands. The Little Grebe T. ruficollis has been recorded as a vagrant from Australia, as well as Sulawesi, Moluccas, Java, Lesser Sundas and New Guinea.

Australasian Grebe

Australasian Grebe

What does it look like? Shown here in breeding plumage (season runs  from September to January in the south). Outside of the breeding season, however, both sexes are dark grey-brown above and mostly silver-grey below, with a yellow-white patch of  bare skin at the base of the bill. In this plumage it is often confused with the also non-breeding Hoary-headed Grebe, but can be distinguished by its d...
Hoary-headed Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe

What does it look like? The Hoary-headed Grebe is most easily identified during the breeding season (typically October to March, but may breed at any time in response to rainfall), at this time its has generally grey upperparts, white underparts, black throat and dark grey head, streaked by numerous overlying white plumes. Outside of this time the head loses its long plumes, instead the crown is blackish...