Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis


Grebes are diving waterbirds, feeding on small fish and aquatic invertebrates. The Little Grebe or 'Dabchick', as it is sometimes known, is our smallest grebe, about half the size of a Moorhen. Grebes nest on floating platforms made up of waterweed.

How to identify

A small, brownish grebe with a fluffy bum, the Little Grebe develops a bright chestnut throat and cheeks during the breeding season. It can be a noisy bird, making a distinctive whinnying trill.

Where to find it

Found on canals, ponds, lakes and rivers throughout the country.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The survival of our waterbirds is threatened by the loss and degradation of many of our wetland habitats. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Little Grebe
Latin name
Tachybaptus ruficollis
Grebes and divers
Length: 25-29cm Weight: up to 140g
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.