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Little Grebe Photo Tips

Here are some tips on where you can find the little grebe and where to photograph it.

| Eschenbach Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife

Little Grebe Photo Tips: Little Grebe

Image by Kev Chapman (Lizenz: CC BY 2.0)


Little grebes are very good at hiding! They’re hard to find for inexperienced bird photographers. Eschenbach binoculars will help you to spot them. Find out how to photograph them here.


Little grebes are 30 cm long maximum, a bit smaller than a Mallard, and can be mistaken for chicks. Their breeding plumage is black both on the back and top. Cheeks, throat and parts of the neck shimmer reddish maroon, especially in the sun. A striking feature is the bright green/yellow, oblong spot on the beak. The beak itself is black; the eyes are brown to red. Chest, abdomen and flanks are white with a mixture of some black. Their usual plumage is rather less bright. Upper head and back are usually brown; chin white and the flanks are faded grey. The beak spots are missing.



Little grebe is quite widespread in Europe, Asia and Africa. Little grebe of Western and Central Europe remain mostly in their breeding area during winter. Birds from Eastern Europe and Asia fly in winter to some warm areas, but remain a short-distance migrant. The Little grebe enjoys standing on slow moving water bodies with rich plants on the banks, especially in the breeding season. In fact, it is wonderfully camouflaged in the dense reeds. Outside the breeding season, the little divers can be encountered on the coast or in fast flowing waters and great lakes.


Photographing tips

An important feature of the little grebe is that in the mating season, they make remarkably long and loud trill calls, often in duet. When it is aggressive, the little grebe gives sharp and short alerts which resound on the water. In April, as their courtship begins, the little grebes can be heard in the reeds. They can also be seen briefly in the water before they disappear below the surface for long dives. Litlle grebes enjoy small fish as well as larvae, diving beetles and tadpoles. They build floating nests in the plants of the shallow waters.

Regions where you can meet the little grebe, among other things, are the Saxon Switzerland, the Kelbra Dam in Saxony-Anhalt and also the Norderoogsand in Schleswig-Holstein.

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