Identification: They are the largest European grebes with slender white necks in all plumages. In winter the face is mostly pale with just a narrow black, slightly crested, cap. In summer this pattern develops into elaborate black and chestnut plumes called tippets. In flight they appear hump-backed with conspicuously pale panels in the long narrow wings.
Habitat: Breeds on lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs and slow moving rivers. Winters on estuaries, lakes and reservoirs.
Distribution: Common on rivers, ponds and lakes throughout the UK, except northern Scotland and the extreme south-west. In winter also found extensively on salt water.
Easily encountered at many wetland sites in Europe. Particularly large wintering concentrations (over 20,000 birds) occur on the IJsselmeer (Holland), the Swiss Lakes and the Black Sea. Over 1000 pairs breed at Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland)
Population: There are an estimated 8000 birds in Britain, with 4 000 birds in Ireland. Wintering birds will swell this figure to between 9000-10000 birds, depending on continental weather conditions.
About 300,000 pairs breed throughout Europe. Russian population 100000-1000000 Turkish population 1000-10000