Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Zealand Grebe

Poliocephalus rufopectus
The New Zealand Grebe, or Weweia, is a small, dark waterbird found only on it's namesake islands.

These Grebe are wonderful swimmers, and are very well adapted to the water. They have movable webbed toes that are great for paddling, along with slim necks that allow them to dive underwater efficiently and find food. They feed on aquatic invertebrates, and can stay underwater for about half a minute.

New Zealand Grebes live near freshwater lakes, and do their nesting year round beside them. 2-3 eggs are laid at the time, and the offspring are precocial. After 2 months the chicks are completely independent from their parents.

Wierdly, the New Zealand Grebes went extinct from the South Island during the 1960s, and no one really knows why. Their population is currently stable, and the birds are protected. Monitoring and other measures are being taken to make sure the mysterious disappearance 50 years ago does not repeat itself.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : New Zealand
Size : Length up to 28in (70cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Podicipediformes
Family : Podicipedidae -- Genus : Poliocephalus -- Species : P. rufopectus
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