Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)


Madagascar Grebe (Tachybaptus pelzelnii)


French: Grèbe malgache German: Madagaskarzwergtaucher Spanish: Zampullín malgache
Other common names: Madagascar Little Grebe

Podiceps pelzelnii


, 1861,



Known to have hybridized with T. ruficollis. Monotypic.


Madagascar, occurring throughout island.

Descriptive notes

25 cm; male 177 g, female 145 g (means). In breeding plumage has blackish-brown cap to just below eye, extending back as narrow band on central hindneck, upperparts... read more


Trilled calls similar to those of T. ruficollis, perhaps lower in pitch.


Permanent or temporary waterbodies, mainly freshwater; prefers sites with with abundant aquatic... read more

Food and feeding

Small fish, but less piscivorous than T. ruficollis and T. rufolavatus; aquatic insects form important part of diet;... read more


Breeds mainly in Feb–Apr, at end of rains, but also in austral spring (Aug–Oct). Nests may be close to each other. Nest a... read more


Dispersive, moving when waterbodies dry out or become markedly reduced in size. Groups of moere... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Widespread, and rather common in some regions; reasonably numerous in W & C Madagascar. BirdLife places global population at fewer than c. 2500 individuals on... read more

Recommended citation

Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Madagascar Grebe (Tachybaptus pelzelnii). 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 17 June 2019).