General Description

A small, stocky grebe. Upper body pale brown to grey, underparts creamy white, eye white. Breeding adults have a black head with distinctive narrow grey-white stripes and a black stripe down the back of the neck (nape). Juveniles have a white throat and chin and a striped face. Bill to tail length is up to 28 cm.


Hoary-headed Grebes form pairs and nest in colonies on aquatic vegetation. They are generally located well away from the shoreline. Nests are a platform of waterweeds, attached to objects such as fallen branches or reeds. Eggs tend to lie in water and parents use wet vegetation to cover the eggs when they leave, making the nest appear empty. The usual clutch size is two to four eggs and both parents incubate them. They feed throughout the day by diving to catch aquatic invertebrates. Will forage only on the water surface when light levels are low. They can be found in large flocks on water in the dry season and over winter. They tend to be silent.


Mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Brackish or salt water wetlands and dams.

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