Family Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Near Threatened

New Zealand Grebe (Poliocephalus rufopectus)


French: Grèbe de Nouvelle-Zélande German: Maoritaucher Spanish: Zampullín maorí

Podiceps (Poliocephalus) rufopectus

G. R. Gray

, 1843,

North Island, New Zealand


Formerly included in Podiceps, and less frequently in Tachybaptus. Closely related to P. poliocephalus. Monotypic.


North I, New Zealand. Thought extinct in South I, but in 2012 one pair recorded breeding at Takaka#R.

Descriptive notes

28–30 cm; 232–271 g. Dark grebe, similar to Tachybaptus in proportions and general shape, with chestnut to maroon tinge on neck and pale iris. Breeding... read more


Generally quiet. Occasionally gives a shrill “wee-ee-ee” whistle, audible only at close range.... read more


Freshwater lakes and pools, generally small and shallow, with dense vegetation, both emergent and... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly aquatic invertebrates, including adults and larvae of insects, freshwater crayfish (Parastacidae), molluscs and leeches (Hirudinea... read more


Breeding activity recorded in all months, with peak of laying in late Aug–Jan; multiple-brooded. Mainly solitary, but semi-colonial... read more


Generally sedentary, with some local dispersal. Disperses freely in search of suitable sites when... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in North Island of New Zealand EBA and South Island of New Zealand EBA. Has a... read more

Recommended citation

Llimona, F., del Hoyo, J., Jutglar, F., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). New Zealand Grebe (Poliocephalus rufopectus). 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 February 2020).