22nd December 2021

Crested Grebe Nests in Queenstown Bay

Crested Grebe
Crested Grebe

In September the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust installed 3 Nesting platforms in Queenstown Bay.

Crested Grebe are a rather rare and unusual species of water bird that is barely able to walk on land. It creates floating nests made of weeds and sticks. Nests are attached to underwater debris, but when lake levels change, nests can be lost.

Some of the birds in Queenstown have found an interesting floating alternative. It’s on the back of boat engines that are partly underwater (mostly Jet Boats) that are anchored on the lake. Clearly a risky choice, so we are helping with the conservation of this species by building floating platforms on which they can build their nests. We also help them by building the nest.

Breeding takes place October to February. Three to four eggs are laid and incubated for 24-26 days. As soon as all the eggs are hatched, birds leave the nest with the chicks on the backs of the parent birds. They will be piggy-backed for the first two to three weeks and then swim freely and feed with the parents for about 3-4 months.


Species.                 Southern Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus australis)

Breeding.               Usually October to February.

Eggs                       3-5 laid at two day intervals

Incubation              24-26 days

Post hatching         Chicks are carried on the backs of parents for the first 2-3    weeks. Parents may stay with the chicks for up to four months.

Courtship:              Spectacular and complex

Distribution.           South Island, Australia

Status NZ               Rare and vulnerable (500-600 birds) extinct in the North Island

May be an image of one or more people, people standing and outdoors
The platforms before installing in Queenstown Bay with sponsors Mitre 10, John Darby, Hans Arnestd, penny Clark, Lisa Thurlow, Paul Kavanagh and David Penrose

Many thanks to the sponsors of this programme Mac Todd law and Mitre 10.

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