Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Least Concern

Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)


French: Grèbe australasien German: Australischer Zwergtaucher Spanish: Zampullín australiano
Other common names: Australasian Little Grebe

Podiceps Novae Hollandiae


, 1826,

New South Wales


Closely related to T. ruficollis and †T. rufolavatus. Has been considered race of former, but breeding overlap with no hybridization recorded in N New Guinea. Birds of Timor sometimes separated as race timorensis, but not reliably separable from populations of Australia; validity of races javanicus and fumosus also doubtful#R#R. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. n. fumosus (Mayr, 1943) – Sangihe and Talaud Is (off NE Sulawesi).
  • T. n. javanicus (Mayr, 1943) – Java.
  • T. n. novaehollandiae (Stephens, 1826) – Timor and S New Guinea to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.
  • T. n. incola (Mayr, 1943) – N New Guinea.
  • T. n. rennellianus (Mayr, 1943) – Rennell I (Solomon Is).
  • T. n. leucosternos (Mayr, 1931) – Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–27 cm; 100–230 g. Nominate race in breeding plumage has head and neck dark brown-grey, often more blackish on head, sometimes slightly paler on foreneck,... read more


    A fast metallic trill, somewhat wavering, given by both sexes, especially during breeding;... read more


    Wide range of waterbodies, mainly freshwater and permanent or semi permanent; often on temporary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small fish (Philypnodon grandiceps, Gambusia affinis, Hypseleotris klunzingeri), freshwater molluscs,... read more


    Season prolonged, laying Aug–Apr, a result of opportunistic breeding on temporary waters; on permanent waters breeds mostly in spring... read more


    Poorly known. Possibly resident in E & SW Australia, migratory in N and dispersive in arid... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common within its reasonably large range. Global population not known, believed to be c. 500,000 individuals, but showing an... read more

    Recommended citation

    Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).