Grebes, Darter & Cormorants

Families Podicipedidae, Anhingidae & Phalacrocoracidae


Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae


Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo


Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris


Little Pied Cormorant Microcarbo melanoleucos

Although there are only fifteen records of Australasian Grebes in the Garden Bird Survey they can often be seen on lakes and dams in Canberra. Australasian Grebes commonly breed in the ACT and are seen all year round, often on quite small bodies of water.  They dive for their food which includes aquatic insects and small crustaceans. The records for this species come from sites which adjoin lakes and dams. There are two breeding records of the Australasian Grebe from the survey.


Australasian Darter Anhinger novaehollandiae

The Australasian Darter and four cormorant species are found locally in many bodies of water. None is a bird of garden areas, but they can sometimes be seen at survey sites next to water or flying over the suburbs. The Great Cormorant, the largest of the four local cormorants, is the only species recorded every year, possibly as it is more easily observed in flight.These birds dive and swim underwater to catch fish and other aquatic animals. They are often seen perching in dead trees, or on banks or dam walls, where they open out their wings to dry their feathers.Survey records of these birds vary, largely because of changing survey sites and their closeness to bodies of water. The Great Cormorant (75 records) was more often seen than the Little Pied Cormorant (54), Little Black Cormorant (28) and Pied Cormorant (2). There were 16 records of the Australasian Darter.