Saturday, March 15, 2014
Creature Feature #148: Dabchick
The Dachick is a small grebe now found only in the North Island of New Zealand, having become extirpated on the South Island at some point in the past. He spends most of his life on the water and rarely, if ever, will come ashore. Inept on land, he is expert on water and will make dives of up to 30 seconds to forage on the lake bed for aquatic invertebrates. Most are consumed underwater, with only the larger morsels being brought to the surface. Courtship is an elaborate ritual of preening, diving and head shaking with nests being constructed from aquatic vegetation. These are anchored to emergent vegetation, or occasionally hidden under boat shelters or in partly submerged caves. The striped chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and will ride on their parents' backs when tired.