Saturday, 8 June 2013

Great Crested Grebe courtship behaviour - they start very young

I was out with the camera and dog this afternoon and sat down by the lake in the park on my way back. I had been watching the Canada Geese with their goslings when my attention was drawn to the Great Crested Grebe chicks. Two of the young were facing each other and mirroring each others movements in the head shaking and ritualised preening display. This went on for several minutes and it was clear they were practicing the courtship behaviour that they will need in later life.

Adult Great Crested Grebes are well known for their elaborate courtship behaviour that incudes head shaking, ritualised preening and a weed carrying display. I have done a bit of research and haven't come across any references to young Great Crested Grebes exhibiting this behaviour and at such an early age. At this stage I don't know if this is a unique observation but if it is not it is likely to be something that has been rarely observed or documented. I will do a bit more digging but if it is previously unrecorded behaviour you read it and saw it here first.

If this hasn't been recorded or photographed before I suppose I could have kept it under wraps and looked to get it published in some ornithological journal or magazine. This usually means a long delay which doesn't seem right in a digital age so here it is: observed today and published today.

Spot the displaying Great Crested Grebe chicks.

all images and text copyright P J Alker 08/06/13

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