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Great Grebe - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 01:16, 30 April 2023 by Jmorlan (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links)
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Photo © by notactuallytom
Pantanos de Villa, Lima, Peru, June 2013
Podiceps major


Fishing action, subspecies navasi
Photo © by Luis R
Bucalemu, Región de Valparaiso, Chile, August 2015

Approximately 67–77 cm (26½-30¼ in). The largest and longest-necked grebe in South America.

  • Large
  • Dagger-like bill
  • Long neck

Adult breeding

Photo © by jmorlan
Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge, Lima, Peru, December 2017
  • Blackish-brown with green gloss above
  • Browner on wings
  • Upper breast and flanks chestnut
  • White underparts
  • Short tufted crest on nape
  • Grey ear-coverts, lores , chin, and throat
  • Chestnut sides of neck and foreneck
  • Black bill
  • Blackish-grey legs

Adult Non-breeding

Similar to adult breeding

  • Greyer above
  • Duller flanks
  • Whiter underparts
  • Duller crown
  • Whiter cheeks giving a more distinctly capped effect


Similar to Non-breeding but duller and browner and face and neck with indistinct stripes.


  • Wings dark above
  • Broad white trailing edge to secondaries
  • White underwing coverts


Southern birds have darker sides of head


Southern South America from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil south to Tierra del Fuego and north on the Pacific coast to Coquimba, Chile and again from Pisco north to Piura, Peru.

Vagrant to the Falkland Islands. There are two old records from Spain but these are extremely unlikely to involve genuine vagrants. Common in Patagonia.



There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • P. m. major:
  • P. m. navasi:
  • Southern Argentina and southern Chile


Lowland lakes and rivers moving to coastal lagoons and estuaries after breeding.


Especially in southern end of range will winter on the sea, sometimes in congregations.


Their diet consists mostly of fish, though apparently insects and shelfish are also though to be eaten.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2014)
  3. Alvaro Jaramillo. 2003. Birds of Chile. Princeton Field Guides. ISBN 0-691-11740-3

Recommended Citation

External Links

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