FOCUS: Red-necked grebe

The Focus series

Danish word of the day: lappedykker = grebe

Have you missed the “FOCUS” series?

What, you had forgotten about that too? 😀
Ok, that’s normal, it’s been a long time, I didn’t write such an article since July. The first one was about one the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen (no, I’m not exaggerating), the Horned grebe (Podiceps auritus).

Today, I’m writing about another grebe, one that’s not as gorgeous as the Horned grebe, but in my opinion, it comes really close.


The Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena) is a migratory bird found all around the world, in the northern hemisphere. In Europe, Denmark in more or less on the western edge of its breeding range, although it can roam as far as Spain during winter. I had never seen it before, but I saw pictures appear on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and I finally spotted one in Flyvestation Værløse.

On the trip back to Gilleleje, I was told that Vestamager was a very good place for this bird. Curious, I went to this lovely area again, and it didn’t fail: I saw many Red-necked grebes. Thanks for the tip!


I biked there again a week later, determined not to go back home without acceptable pictures. Like the time before, I saw two birds in the pools down the buildings, in the very north of the area. I spent two hours there, shooting 250 pictures of one bird.

The best moment was when it came 2 or 3 meters away from the shore, and started to fish. When it dived, I would rush a few meters ahead, to be close to where it would surface. There, I would swiftly lie down and wait a few seconds, camera at the ready. When the grebe appeared, click click click until it dived again. Then repeat from point 1 🙂


I had a lot of fun. I even managed to capture it while it struggled to swallow a fish.

It’s funny to see how different languages have named this grebe: English and Spanish agree, it has a red neck. French thinks the grey cheeks are more important, while Danish focuses on the grey throat. Finnish calls it the oxbird, but it has a nickname in Danish meaning pigbird (grisefugl), a reference to its not-very-graceful sound (thanks Hanna for the info).


> Wildlife gallery

18 thoughts on “FOCUS: Red-necked grebe

  1. Magnifique ! Super obs’ et superbes photos !

    Il y en a qui est resté un petit moment dans les Bouches du Rhône cet hiver… je suis allé le voir… mais je l’ai raté… ça sera pour l’année prochaine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Samuel. We went to Værløse Flyveplads today. Very windy I would say but surprisingly sunny for the Danish spring. We forgot the binoculars and our way too. It is a long time since we last visited the place.
    I saw something very big in the air. It wasn’t a glider and the wings were to narrow to be a buzzard I think but mind you I’m not that clever with birds.
    Your captures of ‘Grisefuglen’ is second to none. I spotted a Grisefugl in Hjortekæret at Slettehus in Jægersborg Dyrehave. I ran around when it dived to be at the right place when it reappeared. Must say you came out with a much better result 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the wings were narrow, it could have been a kærhøg. Or a rørhøg, I saw the first one of the year in Hellebæk before the week-end. But these tend to glide.
      Could it have been a havørn? I wouldn’t say its wings are narrower than the buzzard’s, but it’s very big and tend to flap its wings more often than other birds of prey.
      Jeg er glad du så en grisefugl, det er en smuk fugl!
      Tusind tak for your kind words 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words Emily.
      I felt a bit stupid doing that, and people around certainly thought I was mad, but the pictures I got were totally worth it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.