Saturday, March 31, 2012

Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae



Did you know?
Australasian Grebes eat their own feathers and then feed them to their young. This prevents the juveniles from injuring themselves when they swallow fish bones.

Calls - Listen
Australian Grebe sounds   Trill sounds of Australasian Grebe
Physical description of birds:
The Australasian Grebe is a small waterbird with two distinct plumage phases. The non-breeding plumage of both the male and female is dark grey-brown above and mostly silver-grey below, with a white oval patch of bare skin at the base of the bill. During the breeding season, both sexes have a glossy-black head and a rich chestnut facial stripe which extends from just behind the eye through to the base of the neck. At this time, the eye becomes darker and the patch of skin at the base of the bill becomes pale yellow and more noticeable. When approached, Australasian Grebes usually dive under water.

Distribution:
In Tenterfield, the Australasian Darter is located at the Tenterfield Dam as well as at various locations along the Tenterfield Creek. Although I have not personally seen this bird species in Tenterfield itself, that does not mean it does not exist here. The Australasian Grebe is not numerous in numbers in Tenterfield.

Not a commonly sighted bird in Tenterfield.



General information

Habitat:
The Australasian Grebe is found in freshwater marshes or small freshwater waterways, in Tenterfield (for example), it would be the Tenterfield Dam or Tenterfield Creek. It may also exist in large dams of property owners outside the immediate township of Tenterfield. The Australasian Grebe has been located and identified 70kms west of Tenterfield visiting a property dam.

Feeding:
Food consists mainly of small fish and water insects. Prey is normally caught during deep underwater dives, but some is taken on the surface. Like other grebes, the Australasian Grebe is often seen eating its own feathers and feeding them to its young. This behaviour is thought to help prevent injury from any sharp fish bones that are swallowed.

Breeding:
The Australasian Grebe may raise up to three successive broods in a season. The pale blue eggs are laid in a nest which is a floating mound of vegetation, normally anchored to a submerged branch or reed. The striped downy chicks are able to swim from birth and are cared for by both parents. When parents start breeding again, however, the young of the previous brood are driven away.

Living amongst humans
Instead of flying away from danger these birds tend to dive underwater to get out of harms way. Australasian Grebes live within the range of up to a 1,000 metres altitude of sea level and therefore will be found in various environments in the area.



Slideshow of Australasian Grebe images

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