This web page uses its own cookies and the third-party cookies to collect the information which help us make the service as good as possible. By no means is our intention to use it for gathering personal data.

Cookies policy



Common name Great crested grebe
Scientific name Podiceps cristatus
Type Waterbirds
Status Resident

Large aquatic and diving bird (approx 51 cm or 20 in), with a straight and thin bill (very different from that of ducks). Legs with lobed toes. Vestigial tail, very short. White long straight neck. Black upperparts and brown underparts and flanks. White face and throat, black crown with a small plume. Black eye line. This grebe has two plumes of feathers on the cheeks of reddish and black colour, which it usually wears squeezed and exhibits erect when in heat.



Where it lives

Wetlands surrounded by a wide border of reedbed and variety of aquatic plants. Deep lagoons, with wide sheets of water and plenty of fish. In winter it may appear on the coast.

How it lives

Species resident in the province, that also hosts wintering individuals. It breeds in the lagoons of the north of the province. The courtship is very spectacular. Male and female perform a dance, breast to breast, raising the neck and showing their fan-shaped cheek plumes. Floating nest among the marsh vegetation. One laying of 1 to 6 eggs. The chicks often accompany the adults in their movements on the back of these. Grebes are effective fishermen. They eat fish, molluscs, amphibians and aquatic insects that are caught by diving. These birds can be submerged for almost a minute and dive several meters deep.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent. It can be observed in the Campillos and Fuente de Piedra lagoons and in the mouth of the Guadalhorce. Also present occasionally in the Cancelada reservoir (Estepona).

Curious facts

The name of this bird in Spanish ("somormujo") comes from a series of words that refer to the bird's diving capabilities. Poor flyer and clumsy on land, the Great Crested Grebe is a great swimmer and diver. Its lobed toes facilitate its advance in the water. And its legs, in a very set back position with respect to the body, serve as propellers.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration