Little Grebe’s Splashing Good Time

on 25th September 2012

“A video of a Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) in the midst of bathing was previously posted LINK. Attached are images showing more bathing behaviour for this species.

“Just like the video posted previously, this Little Grebe had been dipping its head into the water and submerging into water to cleanse itself. Not fully satisfied, it then decided to have a splashing good time by flapping and beating its wings against the surface of the water (above). The repeated action of its wing beats against the water agitated the water surface, creating hundreds of droplets of water splashing high and wide. Each lasting less than three seconds, the grebe did this a few times in between breaks and episodes of preening. At times, it would be upright and half-submerged in water; leaving only the top half of its body above water (below). Head pressed against its neck, it appeared comical as it bobbed about.

“Flapping its wings in the air, it can also emerge almost completely out of water; with almost its entire body above the water surface and in an upright stance (below). Only a small portion of its body and feet were under water. This, I believe, is most likely to shake off water from its plumage. If you do not already know, the Little Grebe’s feet is located near the rear of its body. With most of its underside exposed, this would give us an idea how far back the grebe’s feet is located; unlike many avian species, which had their feet at mid body.

Finally, after all the splashing good time, the grebe was relaxed as it floated freely on water (below). With wings spread out, it did not need to expend more energy. The sun and gentle breeze took over to dry its cleansed plumage.”

Kwong Wai Chong
16th September 2012

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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