Birds – Great Crested Grebe

With the bill about as long as the head, and the wing more than six inches in length, are the three species of the genus Lophaetlhyia, one of which, the Great Crested Grebe (L. Cristata), is of nearly cosmopolitan distribution, ranging from Europe and northern Asia to Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It is the largest member of the group, being from twenty-two to twenty-four inches long, and during the breeding season at least is ornamented with a very prominent black-tipped frill, as well as by a pair of long, glossy black tufts or “horns” on the top of the head. The upper parts are dark brown and the under parts silky white quite to the bases of the feathers. “Among our large water birds,” says Hudson, “there are few more strikingly handsome than this Grebe in its full breeding plumage, when viewed as it floats, unalarmed, in the secluded reed-fringed water it loves.” Much smaller than this, and confined to the northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, is the Red-necked Grebe (L. griseigena), while the third species, known as Holboell’s Grebe (L. Hholboellii), is found in North America, including Greenland and eastern Asia, breeding usually far northward. It is about nineteen inches long, blackish above, glossy on the top of the head and back of the neck, rufous on the front and sides of the neck, and silvery white on the throat, sides of the head, and under parts.