Grebes (Podicipedidae)
A group of small to medium-sized water birds that spend almost their entire lives afloat. They are expert divers. Their feet are lobed, rather than fully webbed like divers and ducks. Like the divers, their feet are set well back on the body, making them entirely unsuited to a terrestrial life. Take-off is rather laboured with a long pattering over the water surface. Once airborne they are strong fliers and several species make lengthy migrations. All species breed on freshwater lakes and ponds, although several spend the winter in coastal waters. During the breeding season several species develop elaborate and colourful plumage that are used in ritualized displays.
There are five breeding species in Europe, and one North American vagrant.