Thursday, 12 June 2014

Hoary-headed Grebe on the Barwon River

After a long morning sitting in front of a computer, I got out of the office for a short lunch break by the Barwon River. Fortuitously, a solo Hoary-headed Grebe was fishing close to shore and despite being obviously aware of my presence, hung around while I took a few shots. From a distance, Hoary-headed Grebes are difficult to distinguish from Australasian Grebes in winter or non-breeding plumage (they are quite distinct in breeding plumage). The key distinguishing features if you can get close enough are:
  • the Hoary-headed Grebe has a white ring around the pupil in the eye; the Australasian Grebe has a yellow eye
  • the line between the darker facial/crown feathers and lighter throat/neck feathers on the Hoary-headed Grebe runs below the eye; on the Australasian Grebe it runs through the eye.
The Australasian Grebe is also less likely to be found in estuarine or salt water, preferring fresh water habitats.

Hoary-headed Grebe, Barwon River Estuary, Barwon Heads

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