Little grebes are usually found in pairs or family groups.
The little grebe’s call sounds like the whinnying of a horse.
The little grebe lives on the water, spending the day paddling around in search of food. Little grebes rarely waddle onto land. If they have to run, they usually tip over because their feet are so far back on their bodies.
Little grebes feed mostly on insects, larvae, and small fish. They also dine on frogs, tadpoles, small crustaceans, and mollusks.
Little grebes build a floating nest of vegetation anchored to submerged water plants. The female lays four to six eggs. Parents take turns incubating the eggs for 19 to 28 days. The newly hatched chicks quickly swim away from the nest, climbing onto their parents’ backs to rest. The parents feed them for about 29 day, often giving them feathers, which form a stomach barrier against sharp bones in the fish they consume. After about a month, the chicks start foraging on their own, becoming independent in about 42 days.
Friends & Foes
When threatened by predators—tawny eagles, herons, and Cape clawless otters—little grebes react by diving rather than flying.
Population in Kenya
In Kenya, little grebes inhabit freshwater and alkaline lakes from sea level to 9,800 feet (3,000 m).
Range & Habitat
Little grebes are found in water habitats throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They find sites around dams, on lakes and small ponds. They may also choose temporary backwaters, or even puddles in sluggish watercourses.