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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Little Grebe / Dabchick

Afrikaans name: Kleindobbertjie

Little Grebe

Photo © Steven Herbert

Tachybaptus ruficollis

The Little Grebe is the smallest of the 3 species of Grebe that occur in South Africa. It is about 20 cm in length.

They can be found in suitable habitat right across South Africa. Beyond our borders they can be found across most of Africa and Europe.

Little Grebes are normally found in quiet, slow-flowing stretches of water that have some vegetation to provide them with cover.

They are normally found in pairs or small groups during the breeding season. Outside of the breeding season they may occasionally be found in large flocks.

Their food consists of small aquatic animals such as tadpoles, frogs and arthropods. They spend a lot of time diving under the water to look for food.

Little Grebes breed at different times of the year from region to region. They make their nest on the water and it consists of bits of vegetation. It is often concealed under overhanging plants. Up to 5 eggs may be laid. Both parents tend to the eggs and chicks.

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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 199

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 1

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 4

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 6

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 46

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 177

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 6

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 6

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 72

List of South African Birds

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