Kāmana / Australasian crested grebe

With their distinctive black double crest and bright chestnut and black cheek frills, crested grebe are striking birds.

They live on lakes and use vegetation along the lake margins for nesting and shelter from rough weather. They are unusual, as they spend very little time on land. They attach their floating nests to underwater vegetation and carry their chicks on their backs when they are very little.

While they are found on every continent in the world numbers are declining in New Zealand because of introduced predators like stoats, ferrets and feral cats. Habitat loss through the drainage of wetlands and establishment of hydro schemes is also a factor. DOC and volunteers have been monitoring kāmana/Australasian crested grebe in two lakes in the project area.

In 2021 and 22, 35-40 of the birds were spotted nesting on the outlet stream between Lake Alexandrina and Lake McGregor. This is highly unusual behaviour as the birds don’t normally nest close together, and it is quite a spectacle.