|Great Crested Grebe|
The Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus , is a member of the grebe family of water birds.
It breeds in vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe and Asia. It is resident in the milder west of its range, but migrates from the colder regions. It winters on freshwater lakes and reservoirs or the coast.
It has an elaborate mating display. Like all grebes, it nests on the water’s edge, since it legs are set very back and it cannot walk well. Usually two eggs are laid, and the striped young are sometimes carried on the adults back.
It is an excellent swimmer and diver, and pursues its fish prey underwater.
The adults are unmistakeable in summer with head and neck decorations. In winter, this is whiter than most grebes, with white above the eye, and a pink bill. It is the largest European grebe.
This species was hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century for its head plumes, which were used to decorate hats. The RSPB was set up to help protect this species, which is again common.