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Little grebe


25-29 centimeters
wingspan 40-45 centimeters

color (adults):

summer: chestnut brown with yellow spot in the corner of the beak
winter: completely grayish white


aquatic plants, small fish and aquatic insects


declining water quality

Dutch status:

nesting bird, migratory, winter guest


marshes, ponds, lakes, saline and brackish waters


maturity: 1 year old
eggs per nest: 4-6
nests per year: 2-3

life span:

up to age 15

  • Dut: Dodaars
  • Eng: Little Grebe
  • Fre: Grèbe castagneux
  • Ger: Zwergtaucher
  • Dan: Lille Lappedykker
  • Nor: Dvergdykker
  • Fries: Dükerke
  • Ital: Tuffetto
  • Lat: Tachybaptus ruficollis
Little Grebe, lip-kee, via

Little grebe

The little grebe is not only the smallest grebe species found in the Netherlands, it is also its smallest water bird. In fact, it is no larger than a blackbird. Little grebes are good divers, often taking a 'running start' by jumping upwards before diving under.

  • Population and habitat
    Little grebe, foto fitis, adriaan dijksen

    Little grebes live in fresh water during nesting season. Otherwise, they spend the rest of the year in salt or brackish waters in the delta and wadden regions. Around 2500 pairs breed in the Netherlands.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • Policy: Target Species List
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • European Agreement: Bird Directive
    • International: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention
  • Did you know that...

    ... little grebes are also called dabchicks. It's the only bird name in English to have the first three letters of the alphabet occurring conscutively.