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Podicipedidae - Podicipediformes

Kingdom: Animalia     Phylum: Chordata     Class: Aves (Birds)     Order: Podicipediformes     Family: Podicipedidae

Podicipedidae are small to medium-sized, swimming and diving birds; head small, bill pointed, neck medium to long. Rear end of body fluffy and appearing tail-less. Wings not used during diving. Their feet are flattened, placed far back on the body, and are the only means of propulsion. The feet are very much adapted for swimming and diving, and the grebes can walk only for a short distance with a labored waddle. Most species dull-colored, a few with golden head plumes. Freshwater birds, they are found globally except for the polar regions.

Earlier these birds were thought to be closely related to Gaviidae (Loons), but subsequently it has been recognised that the resemblance is more due to evolutionary convergence than anything else. A total of 7 genera and 22 species worldwide. Five species found in India:

Horned Grebe  (Podiceps auritus) - vagrant
Great Crested Grebe  (Podiceps cristatus) - sparse winter visitor & local resident
Red-necked Grebe  (Podiceps grisegena) - vagrant
Black-necked Grebe  (Podiceps nigricollis) - sparse winter visitor
Little Grebe  (Tachybaptus ruficollis) - widespread common resident

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