Slavonian Grebe

©Margaret Holland

Slavonian Grebe

Scientific name: Podiceps auritus
The rare Slavonian Grebe is an attractive diving bird with distinctive, golden ear tufts that give rise to its American name - 'Horned Grebe'.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 31-36cm
Wingspan: 62cm
Weight: 410g
Average lifespan: est. 5 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Listed as Vulnerable on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

When to see

January to December

About

Grebes are diving waterbirds, feeding on small fish and aquatic invertebrates. The Slavonian Grebe is one of the UK's rarest nesting birds, which can be spotted on a few lochs in Scotland and at sea the rest of the year. It is about the same size as a Moorhen. It sometimes turns up on big lakes and reservoirs.

How to identify

The Slavonian Grebe is easily identified in its breeding plumage by the combination of its golden ear 'horns', black cheeks, and red neck and flanks. Winter plumage is dark above and white below, very similar to other grebes.

Distribution

A very rare nesting bird in Scotland. Seen at sea around most coasts in winter.

Did you know?

The Slavonian Grebe regularly eats its own feathers. Forming a plug in its stomach, this may act as a filter, holding fish bones until they can be digested; parents also feed feathers to their chicks.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.