The British Trust for Ornithology
Tachybaptus ruficollis

Little Grebe © Derek Belsey

Conservation Listings

Biodiversity Steering Group: Unlisted

  Long term trend
UK: Uncertain
Linear waterways: Rapid decline since late 1970s
Status Summary
The Little Grebe is not monitored well by the CBC, WBS or BBS, and each survey shows a different pattern of population change. The decline shown by the WBS may reveal problems among birds on linear waterways in the early 1980s, while the increase shown by the CBC may suggest that wider populations (including small still waters) are healthy. In an analysis of Nest Record Cards, Moss & Moss (1993) found that nests on ponds and lakes were significantly more successful than those on rivers and streams and that nests on rivers, subject to fluctuating water levels, experienced significantly higher failure rates through flooding than those on canals, where water levels are artificially stabilised.
Table of population changes for Little Grebe
Source Period
Years Plots
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 15 153 2 849   Unrepresentative? small sample
  25 1974-1999 16 3 -50 129   Unrepresentative? small sample
  10 1989-1999 13 8 -45 95   Unrepresentative? small sample
  5 1994-1999 15 -2 -36 54   Unrepresentative? small sample
WBS waterways 24 1975-1999 17 -56 -75 -20 >50 Small sample
  10 1989-1999 16 -28 -51 -4 >25 Small sample
  5 1994-1999 15 -30 -45 -15 >25 Small sample
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 46 23 -15 78   Small sample
BBS England 6 1994-2000 38 26 -17 92   Small sample

The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB

Productivity information is not currently available for this species

Wider Countryside Home | BTO Home | JNCC Home

This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Leech, D.I., Marchant, J.H.,
Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Simpkin, A.P., Thewlis, R.M. and Wernham, C.V.
(2002) Breeding Birds in the Wider
Countryside: their conservation status 2001. BTO Research Report No. 278. BTO, Thetford. (

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This page last updated: 21 April, 2008

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