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White-tufted Grebe - BirdForum Opus

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Adult in breeding plumage
Photo by Dwaalgast
Location: Pebbles Island, Falkland Islands.
Rollandia rolland


Sometimes called Golden Grebe

L. 28-36 cm

  • Medium-sized
  • Prominent crest on rear crown

Adult Breeding

  • Blackish-brown above
  • Glossed green
  • Rufous rump
  • Chestnut below
  • Flanks mottled blackish
  • White below
  • Black head and neck
  • Narrow white line over eye broadening to white fan behind eye
  • Red eye
  • Black bill and legs
Non breeding plumaged bird (click on image for larger version)
Photo by Sylvester_b
Location: Torres del Paine, Chile.

Adult Non-breeding

  • Blackish-brown upperparts and crest
  • Browner, tinged reddish, neck and breast
  • Whitish throat and underparts
  • Lacks crest


Similar to non-breeding adult but bill browner and has stripes across cheeks.


Shows broad white bar on trailing edge of secondaries.


South America from Peru, Bolivia, and southern Brazil south to Tierra del Fuego, also breeds on the Falkland Islands.


Juvenile bird (click on image for larger version)
Photo by njlarsen
Location: Laguna El Peral, Chile, December 2009

Three subspecies are recognised, differing mainly in size. Nominate race, rolland (largest and darkest) is found on the Falkland Islands, chilensis (smallest) from 10 dg S in Peru south to Tierra del Fuego and from southern Brazil and Paraguay southwards, and morrisoni (intermediate) in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia.


Upland and lowland ponds and rivers, sometimes on estuarine waters and sheltered bays in non-breeding season.



Mid-October to January in Falkland Islands. Nest is a heap of floating vegetation in rushes or under a streamside overhang. Eggs: 1-3, whitish initially soon becoming stained.


Small fish, crustaceans and aquatic plants taken in 15-20 second dives.


Creaking and jarring calls when breeding.


  1. Clements, James F. 2007. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2007. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801445019
  2. Erize et al. 2006 Birds of South America, non-passerines. Princeton Illustrated Checklists, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. ISBN 0-691-12688-7

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