Bill very short, compressed; distance from the nostrils to the tip six lines: no ruff or occipital crest: tarsi furnished posteriorly with a double row of serratures.
P. minor, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 727. Colymbus Hebridicus, Sow. Brit. Misc. pl. 70. Little and Black-chin Grebes, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 163. Little Grebe, Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 401. pl. 75.
Entire length nine inches ten lines: length of the bill one inch: of the tarsus one inch three lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing four inches three lines.
(Adult in summer). Throat, crown of the head, and nape, deep black; cheeks, sides and fore part of the neck, bright chestnut: upper parts of the body dark brown, tinged with olivaceous green; rump inclining to reddish brown: primary quills brownish ash; secondaries white at the base and on their inner webs: under parts dusky ash, darkest on the breast, vent, and flanks; thighs tinged with reddish: bill black; the extreme tip, and base of the lower mandible, together with the lore, yellowish white: irides reddish brown: legs externally dusky olive, internally livid flesh-colour. (Young of the year). Crown of the head, nape, and all the upper parts of the body, a mixture of brown and ash-colour, with a slight tinge of rufous: throat pure white: sides of the neck reddish ash; fore part of the neck, upper part of the breast, and flanks, the same but paler; belly and abdomen white: bill shorter than in the adult; the lower mandible, and edges of the upper mandible, yellowish white; rest of the bill deep brown: irides brown. (Egg). Smooth; white: long. diam. one inch seven lines; trans, diam. one inch one line.
The most abundant species in the genus. A frequent inhabitant of ponds, marshes, lakes, and the banks of rivers. Rarely observed on the sea-coast. Feeds on Dyticidce and other aquatic insects. Is an excellent diver. Constructs a large floating nest, which it attaches to the stems of rushes. Eggs four to six in number.