1216. Little Grebe.
Podicipes fluviatilis (Tunstall), Orn. Brit. p. 3 (1771) ; Dresser, viii. p. 659, pl. 633 ; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 507 ; Saunders, p. 725 ; P. minor (Gmel.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 591 1788 ; (Naum.), ix. p. 785, Taf. 247 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 446, pl. cxxi. tig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 392 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 42 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 367 ; Lilford, vi. 119, pl. 52.
Le Castagneux, French ; Mergulhao alca-cu, Portug. ; Zam-bullidor. Span. ; Tuffetto, Ital. ; Kleiner-Steissfuss, German ; Dodaers, Dutch ; Lille-Lappedykker, Dan.; Liden-Toplom, Norweg. ; Sma-Dopping, Swed. ; Pikku-uikku, Finn. ; El-ghotis, Moor. ; Kaitsumuri, Jap.
Male ad. (Alexandria). Crown, nape, hind neck, chin, and lores blackish brown ; sides of head, neck, and entire throat rich chestnut-red ; upper parts blackish tinged with grey ; short secondaries white, externally mar¬gined with dark grey ; breast and flanks blackish grey ; rest of under parts dark silvery grey ; bill blackish, the base of the gape lemon-yellow ; legs and feet dull horny greenish ; iris bright brown. Culmen 0.97, wing 3.9, tarsus 1.4 inch. Sexes alike. In winter the rufous is lacking, the chin and upper throat being white, the sides of head and lower throat rufous buff.
Hab. Europe generally, from Scandinavia and Britain to North Africa ; Asia Minor, and Central Asia east to Japan, but not ranging north to Siberia. In India and S. Africa it is replaced by a nearly allied subspecies, P. capensis, Lichtenstein,. (P. albipennis, Sharpe).
In general habits the Little Grebe does not differ from its allies, but does not take wing so readily as the two preceding species, preferring to seek safety by diving. It frequents inland lakes and ponds, especially where there is abundant cover, and is shy and wary. It feeds on insects, larvae, small fish, and frogs, and occasionally on vegetable matter. Its call- note is a soft and not unpleasant bib-bibib, uttered several times in succession. Its nest is a large mass of aquatic herbage placed either near, or floating on, the water ; its eggs, 3 to 6 in number, which are usually laid late in April or early in May, resemble those of P. nigricollis, but are much smaller, measuring about 1.55 by 1.04. After a very short period of incubation the eggs of all the Grebes become very discoloured, and are sometimes dark brown. The young of all our Grebes resemble the adult in winter dress but are duller, and the young in down are blackish or brownish above, striped with rufous or whitish brown, the under parts white.
Since this work was commenced many sub-species have been described, only some of which Lave been included or referred to, and it appears that two species have been in¬advertently omitted. These two are the following, viz.
1216. Podicipes fluviatilis
1216. Little Grebe.