Courtship ritual of the Great Crested Grebe

posted in: Courtship-Mating | 0

The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) is an aquatic bird that is an expert diver. It nests on a raft of water weeds that is attached to reeds to stop it from drifting away.

The images by Liu Jianzhong a.k.a. Jz of the Great Crested Grebe’s courtship ritual were documented in November 2009 in Australia. This is the beginning of its breeding season when 3-5 eggs are laid. Incubation can take from 21-31 days, fledging in 71-79 days. The juvenile takes about two years before it becomes sexually active.

It has an elaborate courtship display involving swinging the neck that causes feathers to be raised, especially the prominent crest. The pair will then swim away from each other, dive into the water to emerge with some water plants and charge at each other. They then circle around each other before diving again.

This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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