Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Least Concern

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)


French: Grèbe huppé German: Haubentaucher Spanish: Somormujo lavanco
Other common names: Southern Crested Grebe (australis)

Colymbus cristatus


, 1758,

Europe; restricted to Sweden


Has hybridized with P. auritus in C England#R. Races may be approaching species threshold, especially infuscatus, which is rather small, with blackish back, and black of crown extending over lores to behind eye#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. cristatus (Linnaeus, 1758) – Eurasian Crested Grebe – Palearctic S from c. 66° N, and locally to N India; winters in coastal zones, mainly in S of range.
  • P. c. infuscatus Salvadori, 1884 – African Crested Grebe – scattered populations in E & S Africa.
  • P. c. australis Gould, 1844 – Australasian Crested Grebe – SW & SE Australia, Tasmania, and S New Zealand (South I).
  • Descriptive notes

    46–61 cm; 596–1490 g. Unmistakable in breeding plumage. Nominate race in breeding plumage has black cap ending in an erectile crest (longer on older... read more


    Very vocal during breeding season, with various harsh throaty calls, especially loud, strong,... read more


    For breeding prefers fresh or brackish water fringed by vegetation, with sizeable sheets of open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly sizeable fish, as much as 7·5 cm in diameter and 22 cm long, or even longer when thin species such as eels (Anguilliformes)... read more


    Season mainly Apr–Jul (Jan–Sept) in Europe; breeds in all months in tropical Africa (peaks usually in or immediately after long... read more


    Migratory and dispersive, especially in N parts of range. After breeding, many make local movements... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally and seasonally common in much of range; locally common but very local in Afrotropics (race infuscatus); uncommon in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus). 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 18 March 2018).