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Conservation status: Red

Arguably the most attractive of the UK's breeding grebes, with its golden ear tufts and trilling calls. It looks similar to the black-necked grebe in winter but has whiter cheeks which almost meet at the back of the neck. Due to its small breeding population it is an Red List species.



Latin name

Podiceps auritus


Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Where to see them

In the breeding season they are mainly found north and south of the Great Glen and in Strathspey and can be watched in the breeding season at the RSPB Loch Ruthven nature reserve. In winter they can be found around UK coasts with the Moray Firth, the Firth of Forth, the Clyde Estuary and Islay in Scotland and Pagham Harbour, Sussex being important sites.

When to see them

They arrive back in Scotland in March and April, leaving again in late summer. Found at winter sites between October and March.

What they eat

Fish and insect larvae


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-30 pairs1,100 birds-




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

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1 in 4 UK birds are now on the Red List of Conservation Concern. Together, with your support, we can help shape their future.

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