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Our emblem: The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
"Great Crested Grebe is 46-51 cm long with a 59-73 cm wingspan. It weights between 800 and 1400 g. The adults are unmistakable in the summer with head and neck decorations. They are excellent swimmers and divers. In the summer time they usually swim in the middle of lakes and disappear for their up-to-one-minute dives, when they go between 5 and 20 meters below water surface.
Great Crested Grebe feeds mainly on fish caught while diving. But it also eats pollywogs, crustaceans, spiders, water insects and seeds.
The mating ritual
s (courtship) are very striking and are called the "penguin's dance". Grebe couples turn close to each other, shake their heads and strike water with their feet. During the mating they please each other with gifts such as food and nest material. Great Crested Grebe builds nests on water. They consist of floating plants and are hidden in the lakeshore vegetation. The incubation period lasts from 27 to 29 days while both partners nest on eggs taking turns. Grebe chicks are precocial birds and are able to swim and dive on their own immediately. But during the first 10 to 11 weeks they would be carried by adults, hidden in feathers at their dorsal. The young ones are remarkable because their heads are striped black and white.
[Source: German Wikipedia]