Length 45-50 cm and wingspan 77-85 cm. Weight: 700-900 g. The Red-Necked Grebe is a nondescript dusky-grey bird in winter. In breeding plumage, it has a black cap that extends below the eye, very pale grey cheeks and throat, a rusty red neck, dark grey back and flanks, and white underparts, from which its name was derived. The eyes are dark brown and the long, pointed bill is black with a yellow base. The winter plumage of the Red-Necked Grebe is duskier than that of other grebes; its dark grey cap is less defined, and merges into the grey face, and a pale crescent that curves around the rear of the face contrasts with the rest of the head. The front of the neck is whitish or light grey, the hind neck is darker grey, and the yellow of the bill is less obvious than in summer.

The sexes are similar in appearance, although the male averages heavier than the female. Chicks have a striped head and breast, and older juveniles have a striped face, diffuse blackish cap, pale red neck and extensive yellow on the bill.

It also has an elaborate courtship display and a variety of loud mating calls.

Like all grebes, the Red-Necked is a good swimmer, a particularly swift diver, and responds to danger by diving rather than flying.


Distribution and Habitat

Holartic species that occurs in moderate climates in the Northern Hemisphere. In Europe, it can be seen most often in Central and Eastern Europe. Red-Necked Grebe is a migratory water bird. Winters in southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Its winter habitat can only be confined to the calm waters surrounding the ocean shores, and some birds can also winter in large lakes with non-freezing waters.

In Bulgaria it is mainly found in the marshes along the Danube River, the Black Sea coast, the Thracian Plain and the western part of the Sofia Field. Breeding-nesting, rarely wintering species.It inhabits fresh water ponds with dense aquatic vegetation. In winter, it is also found on larger lakes and coastal lagoons, bays.



Eats fish in winter or insects peaks in the aquatic vegetation during the summer. It absorbs its own feathers, probably for the protection of the digestive system.



The Red-Necked Grebe has one generation a year. It builds a nest of aquatic plants on top of floating vegetation in a shallow lake or swamp. Breeds of isolated pairs or in small colonies. The female lays 1-2 eggs in April-May. The both birds brood. The incubation period is 22 to 25 days.


Conservation Status

Vulnerable. A protected species of the Biodiversity Act. The Red-Necked Grebe is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.









Red-Necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)