One beautiful morning in Queenstown me and my family were walking a track that was adjacent to the lake. The birds were singing beautifully and the water was as calm as I had ever seen on Lake Wakatipu. By chance I was looking out onto the lake when I saw a pair of Great-Crested Grebes that were doing their beautiful courtship dances. At once I skidded down to the lake shore to photograph these beautiful birds.
Sadly, these grebes are classified as Nationally Vulnerable to extinction and they number about a 1000 birds in NZ. In fact in they reached a low of 200 birds in the 1980’s.
Australasian Crested Grebes are also known for their beautiful courtship displays like head shaking, and the weed dance, where they offer each other some water weed.
Threats for these grebes include predation from introduced mammalian predators and loss of nesting habitat. Strongholds for these grebes include Lake Wanaka (where there are lots of nests), Lake Wakatipu, and some lakes in Canterbury. Donate to conservation now if you would like to protect taonga (treasure) birds like these.