Waterbird of small size (about 34 cm or 13.5 in), larger than the Little Grebe. Medium-sized and arched neck, long and thin bill (different from that of the ducks) slightly upcurved, legs with lobed toes and vestigial tail, very short. Red eyes. Dark black upperparts, head, neck and face. Orange or rufous belly and flanks. White cottony anal area. Yellow plumes in the cheeks, behind the eyes. Very different winter plumage. Black back, neck and crown. Light grey throat, flanks and belly. White cheeks. It submerges frequently to dive and usually emerges in different places than where it dived.
Preference for saline wetlands. Small, temporary ponds, shallow, open and with a lot of emerged vegetation to breed. In winter it frequents reservoirs, mouths and even the coast.
Species resident in the province, but more frequent during the wintering. Floating nests and in small colonies (gregarious unlike the Great Crested and the Little Grebe). Layings of 2 to 5 eggs. The parents transport the chicks on their back during the first days of life. This bird feeds on aquatic plants, small aquatic insects, amphibian larvae, molluscs and small fishes that it captures by diving.
It can be watched in the Campillos and Fuente de Piedra lagoons, where it is a breeder. Present also in the mouth of the Guadalhorce as a wintering species.
Its Latin name (Podiceps) refers to the fact that its legs are attached to the body at the height of the anus (as it also happens to the Great Crested Grebe), adaptation that facilitates the advance diving by placing the legs in a set back position.
- GR 249. Stage 18. Fuente de Piedra - Campillos
- GR 249. Stage 19. Campillos - Embalses del Guadalhorce
- GR 249. Stage 20. Embalses del Guadalhorce - Estación de El Chorro (Álora)
- GR 249. Stage 30. Estepona - Marbella
- Laguna de Fuente de Piedra Nature Reserve
- Lagunas de Archidona
- Lagunas de Campillos
- Mouth of the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve
- Reserva Natural Laguna de la Ratosa y La Castañuela
- Sierra de Mollina y Laguna de la Ratosa