The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) is one of the largest grebes, and one of the most particular.

The great crested grebe is c. 45-50cm, wingspan 85-90cm. It is about the size of a mallard, but with a much longer neck and a more slender body. It is very easily recognisable on the the top and the collar, which is coloured brightly red in the breeding season. Outside the breeding season the collar is lost and the colours much less bright.

It lives and breeds in lakes, large and small, and occasionally in shallow coastal areas with brackish water. It is very well adapted to life in water, and dives very well, staying submerged for long periods and covering long distances under water, where it hunts for small fish. The great crested grebe is often found in lightly polluted waters, because the extra nutrients lead algae and hence to more small fish.

The great crested grebe has a very elaborate ritual, which includes a kind of dance on the water. The nest is floating, made of seaweed attached to the reeds. When the bird leaves the nest to feed, it covers the eggs with wet pieces of vegetation.

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