Great Crested Grebe - Podiceps cristatus


A delightfully elegant waterbird with ornate head plumes, which led to it being hunted for its feathers, almost leading to its extermination from the UK. They dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying. On land they are clumsy because their feet are placed so far back on their bodies.

Identification difficulty

Lowland lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs and rivers. Also found along coasts in winter.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

In spring when males and females perform their 'penguin dance' - they face each other and rise up in unity. They make their nests by heaping up reed stems. The clutch consists of 3 or 4 white eggs. The stripy juveniles spend much of their time being carried on the back of the adults.

UK Status

Fairly frequent now in the UK with both the breeding and wintering populations slowly increasing

VC55 Status

Uncommon breeder but a common passage and winter visitor in Leicestershire and Rutland

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map