Hoary-headed Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe floating in a open waterwayWhat 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 and the throat white.  

Where does it live? Found throughout Australia.

What are its habitats and habits? Commonly seen, but often mistaken for the Australasian Grebe, the Hoary-headed Grebe is perhaps the  most gregarious of the three grebes found in Australia, often seen nesting and roosting in groups.  It is found on open, fresh or brackish, waterways, throughout the majority of Australia.  When sighted, the Hoary-headed Grebe, unlike the Australasian Grebe, seldom allows close approach, generally taking to the air in a rapid flight.  Conversely, the Australasian Grebe, tends to dive beneath the surface of the water, seldom taking to the air during the daylight.  Food consists of aquatic invertebrates and other insects that are caught in underwater dives.

Scientific name: Poliocephalus poliocephalus

Size: 27 to 30 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store