Brief SummaryRead full entry
BiologyThe Junin grebe's impressive diving ability allows the bird to feed on a diet primarily of small fish, but it also eats invertebrate nymphs and adults from the lake's surface (2). They also consume feathers which form a ball in the centre of the stomach and a plug in the pyloric region. The main function of this may be to rid the grebe of gastric parasites when the ball is regurgitated (3). Often they can be seen feeding in groups; several birds will swim along in a line and dive down simultaneously (2). The Junin grebe lays eggs in December and January, during the rainy season (2). They nest amongst the reed beds in colonies of up to 20. The usual clutch size is two eggs, and it is likely that only one clutch is laid per year. In years when there are very low water levels, no young are raised at all. It is presumed that this is a long-lived species, and its very low reproductive rate probably evolved in a stable and predictable environment (2). Once the eggs hatch, the new family of grebes leave the reed beds and head out to open water, with the fledglings carried on the back of the male parent whilst the female dives for their food (6). The Junin grebe performs an array of sequences during courtship. This includes 'head-shaking', when two grebes facing breast to breast turn their head rapidly from side to side in synchronous jerks; and 'penguin-dance', when the grebes carry out 'head-shaking' whilst paddling vigorously, and extending their bodies and neck vertically out of the water (3).