|Great Crested Grebe|
Latin name - Podiceps cristatus
The largest Grebe in the United Kingdom, it was once nearly hunted to extinction for the feathers in its ornate head plumes and the dense breast feathers which were used to make Victorian muffs. Both sexes are similar with slender white necks all year round, a dagger like bill and a grey-brown back. In winter they have a blackish crown and crest but in summer they develop chestnut frills around the head. Young birds have dark stripes on the sides of the necks. To avoid predation by Pike, the young will ride on the backs of the parents. The courtship of Great Crested Grebes consists of an elaborate display in which they rise out of the water shaking their heads from side to side. It catches its main food prey of fish by diving up to 4 metres underwater. They can be seen in shallow freshwater lakes, slow rivers and estuaries.