Podiceps cristatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Podicipediformes Podicipedidae

Scientific Name: Podiceps cristatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Great Crested Grebe
French Grèbe huppé
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is found across most of Europe and central Asia, though it also winters in parts of southern Asia (e.g. northern India). Colonies can also be found scattered through Africa, from Tunisia and Egypt in the north, through a few scattered colonies in central Africa to South Africa. Nesting colonies are also found in southern Australia and New Zealand, with individuals wintering in eastern and northern Australia (del Hoyo et al. 1992).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Armenia; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Bulgaria; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Gabon; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Rwanda; San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Burundi; Faroe Islands; Gambia; Iceland; Indonesia; Lesotho; Mali; Nigeria; Oman; Senegal; Swaziland; United Arab Emirates
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:152000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is estimated to number c.915,000-1,400,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 330,000-498,000 pairs, which equates to 660,000-997,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). In Europe the population is estimated to be declining moderately rapidly (BirdLife International 2015, EBCC 2015).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Behaviour The majority of this species is fully migratory although some populations may only undergo local dispersive movements (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It breeds between April and September in Europe, in all months of the year in Africa (peaking during long rainy season) and from November to March in Australasia, nesting either in solitary, dispersed pairs or in loose colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (forming only where safe nesting sites are few and feeding areas are extensive) (Fjeldsa 2004). After breeding (from August to October) (Fjeldsa 2004) adults may disperse locally to large lakes and reservoirs to undergo a flightless moulting period (del Hoyo et al. 1992), during which gatherings of hundreds of individuals(occasionally even greater than 10,000) may form (Fjeldsa 2004). During the winter the species largely remains solitary (Snow and Perrins 1998), especially when feeding (Fjeldsa 2004), but temporary congregations (Snow and Perrins 1998) of up to 5,000 individuals may form in some areas (Fjeldsa 2004).Habitat Breeding The species breeds on fresh or brackish waters with abundant emergent and submerged vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998), showing a preference for non-acidic eutrophic waterbodies with flat or sloping banks and muddy or sandy substrates (Snow and Perrins 1998), usually 0.5-5 m deep (Snow and Perrins 1998) and with large areas of open water (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Suitable habitats include small pools or lakes, backwaters of slow-flowing rivers and artificial waterbodies (e.g. reservoirs, fish-ponds, gravel pits and ornamental lakes) (del Hoyo et al. 1992). In Australia the species also utilises swamps, reservoirs, lagoons, salt-fields, estuaries and bays (Marchant and Higgins 1990), and in tropical Africa and New Zealand it may breed on montane, subalpine and alpine lakes up to 3,000 m (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Non-breeding The species overwinters on large exposed ice-free (Fjeldsa 2004) lakes and reservoirs (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998), moving to sheltered coastal inshore waters (Snow and Perrins 1998) less than 10 m deep (Fjeldsa 2004) such as brackish estuaries (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998), deltas, tidal channels and tidal lagoons (Snow and Perrins 1998) during cold spells (Fjeldsa 2004). In addition it frequents large saline lakes in Australia (Marchant and Higgins 1990). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of large fish as well as insects, crustaceans (e.g. crayfish, shrimps) and molluscs, occasionally also adult and larval amphibians (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species's invertebrate consumption is highest during the breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site The nest is a platform of aquatic plant matter either floating on water and anchored to emergent vegetation or built from the lake bottom in shallow water (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Typical nest sites include reedbeds or flooded thickets as well as more open sites such as floating mats of water-weed or kelp fronds (Fjeldsa 2004).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):7.1
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species suffered declines in the nineteenth century as a result of hunting for the plume trade (this is no longer a threat) (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species was also hunted in the past for food in New Zealand, a threat that although past is still limiting to the New Zealand population when combined with the modern threats of low food availability, modification of lakes for recreational purposes (del Hoyo et al. 1992), hydroelectric development and the introduction of competitors (e.g. trout) and predators (e.g. weasels, cats and rats) (Fjeldsa 2004). The species is commonly drowned accidentally in monofilament gill-nets (fishing nets) (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Fjeldsa 2004) with mesh sizes greater than 5 cm (Quan et al. 2002). It may also be threatened by future coastal oil spills (Gorski et al. 1977), and is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006). Utilisation The species is hunted for commercial (food) and recreational purposes in Iran (Balmaki and Barati 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The following information refers to the species's range within Europe only: The species was included in the Grebes Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan published in 1997 (O'Donnel and Fjeldsa 1997).

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's range within Europe only: The conservation of this species relies on the protection of lake habitats, limiting water-based recreation at key sites and enhancing nesting habitat in predator-free environments. Key international sites should be identified and protected. Evaluate the potential of the species as a keystone indicator of wetland health (O'Donnel and Fjeldsa 1997). Mitigation measures to reduce bycatch should be enforced. Strict legislation on the transportation of oil should be implemented to reduce the risk of future spills.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Podiceps cristatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696602A86037864. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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