Western Grebe Back-brooded Chicks (and what’s the function of that red crown patch?)

western grebe 6609 ron dudley

A trio of Western Grebe chicks on the back of a parent can certainly be eye-catching. And in this case they piqued my curiosity. [...]

Western Grebe – Dumping The Chick Load

western grebe 6532 ron dudley

At this age Western Grebe chicks are heavy-bodied, small headed, loud, awkward and demanding. They alternately ride on the back of each parent (back brooding) as the other adult rests or hunts for fish to feed to its family. At this stage the youngsters are good swimmers and there’s often not enough room on the parents back for all of the chicks to ride comfortably anyway so the parent uses an interesting strategy to “dump its load” into the water when it needs a break. [...]