Great crested grebe

Builder of floating nests

Great crested grebe © Eero Haapanen

The great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) is a fish eater that builds a floating nest out of dead vegetation among reeds that have fallen down during the winter. The nests are often destroyed by fluctuating water levels and waves, in response to which great crested grebes simply build new ones.

By the middle of summer the nests are surrounded by the tall-growing reeds, protecting them from harm during nesting. The young are raised by the both the male and the female, which catch fish for them to eat. Great crested grebe families often end up dividing, with some of the chicks following one of the parents and the rest following the other. Great crested grebe chicks continue to noisily beg their parents for small fish all the way to August.

Photo Jussi Helimäki.