|Latin name:||Podiceps cristatus|
|Additionally:||European species description|
Appearance and behavior. The largest of our grebes. Body length 46–51 cm, wingspan 85–90 cm. It has a long, thin neck and a large, elongated head with a narrow and sharp straight beak. In the wedding dress, the head seems even larger due to the lush “whiskers” and the forked crest resembling horns. He likes to stay in open water, dives in danger, takes off very hard and reluctantly, after a long run. In the air, however, the chomga sometimes form flocks of a wedge-shaped form characteristic of most waterfowl (from grebes such constructions had to be seen also in the sulcus). In a winter outfit, it differs from a gray-toadled grebe similar to it in the presence of a white eyebrow that separates the eye from the dark “hat”.
Description. In the wedding dress, the body is grayish-brown (the sides are reddish, the belly is white), the neck is light, only a dark strip stretches along its back side, the “whiskers” are chestnut-red, the cap and “horns” are black, the “face” is white, only from the corners of the mouth dark stripes stretch to the eyes. The eyes themselves are red, and the color of the beak can be from gray-steel to bright pink. In a flying bird, large white spots on the wings are clearly visible - along the secondary wing feathers and along the leading edge of the wing, with approach to the entire base of the wing. In the winter outfit, the “whiskers” and “horns” disappear, otherwise the color remains approximately the same as in the summer (only brownish and reddish tones are replaced by gray ones). In approximately the same way as adult birds in the winter, young full-fledged look, but they are distinguished by the presence of dark marks on the sides of the neck and cheeks. Down chicks are completely striped (including the back and even the beak), with age, the stripes on the back gradually disappear, on the head and neck they are noticeable much longer, until the appearance of adult plumage. Little chicks have fledgling red patches of skin between the corners of the mouth and eyes, as well as on the forehead.
Vote the chomga is loud, and she likes to scream. Most often I hear the rolling "croro", And with excitement - jerky"check-check". Chicks squeak almost continuously, in reservoirs where the chomga is common, this squeak forms a sound background in the summer.
Distribution, status. Breeds almost throughout Eurasia (in Siberia - only in the south), local foci in Africa, Australia, New Zealand. Wintering places are located up to the tropical zone. In European Russia, the most widespread and numerous grebe. It reaches Karelia to the north, and to the Black Sea coast to the south. Our birds winter in the coastal waters of the Black and Azov Seas, but, like other grebes, in the presence of ice-free water, the chomga can winter almost everywhere. Everywhere is not uncommon.
Lifestyle. For breeding, the chomge needs a fairly extensive reservoir rich in fish. He willingly settles on reservoirs, ponds of fish farms, as well as on natural lakes. It nests most often near the outer (that is, facing the reach) edge of reed beds, the nest is a floating pile of moist, damp plant residues. Where there are many chomg, they are quite tolerant of the neighborhood of their own kind, and sometimes the nests are located a few meters from one another. However, these nesting colonies, unlike the black-necked grebes, do not form. After hatching the chicks, parents, as a rule, migrate with them on their backs to open water, where they stay until the young ones rise to the wing. The main food for the chomgas is small fish (no more than 15 cm long), they sometimes offer aquatic insects to small chicks.
Chomga, or Great Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
In Russia, this bird is called the big grebe, or chomga. Belongs to the grebe family. One hundred years ago, when Dahl compiled a dictionary, a large grebe belonged to the family of loons. The word Chomga of Turkic origin.
The Uzbek language has the word sho’ng’in, which means diving, diving. In the Tatar - a schomgan - plunged, dived. The Great Grebe is also called the crested dive, or the crested chomga. They called her a grebe for a tasteless, stinky meat that gives away rotten fish. There are about two dozen species in the Pogankov family.
Description and Features
Despite its unattractive name (toadstool), chomga - the bird is charming. The snow-white tummy smoothly turns into reddish sides. Inside, the wings are also snow-white, which becomes apparent when the bird flaps its wings. The back and scallop on the head are black.
The head is set on an elongated, slender neck. Unlike ducks, the chomga has a slightly elongated, pointed beak with which it catches fish. Eyes are crimson red. It keeps afloat with dignity, one might even say - it is important.
But attentive and focused. After all, the Chomga will see a floating fish in the river, and at the same time not become food for the kite itself. Chomga is especially lovely during the mating season. A dark cherry collar appears on her neck, and a scallop on her head. By this, the birds let them know that they are ready for mating.
Paws of the chomga are olive-green in color, short, strong, located closer to the tail. It is this structure that allows her to take a vertical pose while standing on the water. Feet without membranes, so characteristic of most waterfowl.
Instead, there are leather hard folds on the sides of each finger. Three fingers are pointing forward, and the last is looking back. Chomgi paws do not work like ducks or loons. She pulls them back, and works only with the moving part of the lower extremities, resembling propeller blades. It should be noted that the limbs of the toadstool are very mobile and plastic. When the paws freeze at the chomga, she raises them above the water and puts them apart, like a gymnast on a twine.
Fine and swiftly afloat, the legs of the chomga are poorly adapted to land. Toadstool moves along the shore slowly and awkwardly. The body while walking on the ground takes an upright position and resembles a penguin.
Interestingly, during the courtship dance on water, she runs extremely fast, swiftly fingering her legs, and enjoying the process. Toadstool runs on water when it tries to take off, or during courtship games. The size of a chomga is smaller than a duck. It weighs from 6 to 1.5 kilograms. In color, the female differs little from her partner, but her size is noticeably smaller.
By the way, in most bird families and genera, males are distinguished by a bright, eye-catching color, in contrast to females, whose plumage has more uniform shades. The length of the folded drake wing is on average 20 cm. The wingspan in flight reaches 85 cm. The body length is about half a meter.
In nature, approximately 15-18 species of grebes are known. Chomga bird, - the most famous of grebes living in Russia. Dahl in his dictionary mentioned the crested chomga, horned, grebe, red-eared, eared. In the modern classification, chomgy are named differently.
They were either renamed, or they died out over a century and a half. By the way, the number of species of these birds has actually declined over the past century. The reason for this is human economic activity. The table shows some of the living species of grebes, their distinctive features.
Toadstools that feed on fish are larger, and their necks are longer than those toadstools that feed on insects or mollusks.
|Types of Toadstools||Habitat||External species differences||Size weight||What eats|
|Motley beak, or Karolinskaya||Both are American continents, from southern Canada. In the Arctic North Canada and Alaska, this bird is not.||In summer, a black border appears on an elongated, pointed beak, for which it got its name. The main color of the feathers is dull brown.||The body is elongated by 31-38 cm, weight 300-600 gr. Wingspan up to 60 cm.||Mostly water insects|
|Small||Southern Eurasia and almost the entire African continent.||The back is dark brown, almost black, the plumage of the abdomen is silver. The beak is chocolate dark with a light tip. In summer, part of the head and neck are painted auburn with copper tint. By winter, the chestnut plumage disappears.||Weight is approximately 100-350 gr. The wing length is 9-11 cm. The size of the eggs is 38-26 mm.||Insects, their larvae, mollusks, for which they dive to the very bottom of the reservoir, small fish|
In Russia and Belarus it is under state protection, is included in the Red Book.
|It lives on almost all continents of the northern hemisphere, choosing forest zones. For nesting, prefers ponds with dense vegetation near the coast.||The back of the neck, back, part of the wing are blackish-brown. Feathers on the stomach and cheeks on the head are grayish-white. The front of the neck is orange rusty.||The body is 42-50 cm long. Weight is 0.9-1 kilograms. The length of the wings in flight is 80 -85 cm. Eggs -50x34 mm.||It feeds on insects, roach, fry.|
|Red-necked, or horned||In Eurasia and North America. The inhabitants of the subarctic south and temperate north are migratory.||In autumn and winter it has a light gray even color. Only on the head is a dark gray cap and the front of the neck is white. In spring and summer, the Red-necked Chomga changes: reddish-red feathers appear on the head, on the neck and sides.||Body length - 20-22 cm. Weight -310-560 gr. The average egg size is 48 × 30 mm.||It feeds on insects, in winter - small fish.|
|Black-necked, or eared||It lives on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. Living in the north, birds fly to the south for the summer.||In spring and summer, the head and neck are black with a coal sheen. Near the eyes, like the eyelashes of a coquette - golden feathers, clearly visible on a coal background. By autumn, the plumage fades, acquires a gray tint. The back is black-brown, the sides are rusty, the abdomen is light.||Body length - 28-34 mm, weighs 300-600 gr.|
The average egg size is 46x30 mm.
|Clark's Toadstool||It lives mainly on the west coast of the North American continent||Clark's grebe is much larger than the Russian toadstools.|
Plants hatch monophonic, off-white, which also distinguishes them from other species of grebes. Adults have a gray-brown back and a snow-white belly.
|One of the largest in the family of grebes. Body length 55-75 cm, weight 700-1700 grams. Wingspan -90 cm.||Pierces prey with a beak, like a dagger. Feeds on fish.|
Where and how does a chomga live?
Chomga settled almost throughout the Eurasian continent. She also meets:
- in Australia,
- New Zealand
- on the coasts of East and South Africa.
Northern inhabitants lead a migratory lifestyle. Birds living in a subtropical and tropical climate lead a sedentary lifestyle. Chomga and other representatives of grebes do not live only in the far north and in Antarctica.
Large grebes settle on lakes and ponds, choose fresh water bodies. The short legs of the grebe are poorly adapted for walking on the ground. It also flies rarely, but very well and quickly. It is capable of long-distance flights.
Before take-off, she runs up on the water, helping herself with a flap of strong wings. But still he prefers the water element, where he feels excellent. Cleans and lubricates the feathers of the chomga also on the water, lying on one side or the other. The plumage of the bird has excellent water-repellent properties.
For nesting, the chomga chooses ponds with a lot of vegetation: reeds, reeds. And of course, it’s important for the toadstool to have a slow flow in the pond. And it’s better if he doesn’t exist at all.
Large grebe eats mainly fish, and as can be seen in the photo, it is far from shallow. Supplements the diet with frogs, mollusks, water insects, and very little - algae. The chomga has excellent vision, she notices a fish deep in the water.
It is able to dive to a depth of 4 meters, pressing wings to the body and working only with its paws. The Chomga dives with a sharp, rapid jump head down. In this case, the body rises above the water with a candle and immediately goes under water strictly vertically, or perpendicular to the surface of the water. It is noticed that the chomga eats its own feathers.
This may seem strange if you don’t know the reason. Chomga swallows the whole fish. And so that the sharp bones of fish do not damage the intestines of the bird, soft feathers serve as a kind of buffer that protects the bird's body from injury. Perhaps the Chomga eats algae for the same purpose. To improve the digestion of hard, hard-to-digest food, the chomga swallows small pebbles.
- Mating season
During the mating season, the chomga exhibits additional plumage, which makes Chomgu in the photo especially attractive. Moreover, the feathers grow both in the female and in the male. A scallop appears on the head.
The extreme feathers are longer, the middle ones are shorter. From what this scallop is perceived as horns. Around the neck is formed a luxurious collar of dark orange, or cherry burgundy feathers. For this scallop and collar the bird received the nickname crested.
The mating season at toadstools begins in April-May. Females scream loudly. Their guttural sound is heard as “corr” “kua”, krua ”. By this they attract males - future partners.
The male comes to the female with a gift - caught fresh fish, which the female immediately eats. While the female absorbs the gift, the male prepares her a feather for a snack. In smaller, insectivorous species of grebes, the male brings a partner a bunch of algae, apparently as a sign of readiness to lay the foundation of the future nest.
The female chooses a partner during the ritual dance. Chomga dance - a delightful sight. First, they perform several synchronous movements with their heads and necks. It is surprising that the partner precisely repeats the movements of the female. Then both birds rise above the water, taking a vertical position.
Raising their wings a little, they synchronously run through the water, quickly fingering their paws. Obviously, in the dance, the partner seeks to prove to the female that he is not weaker than her and will be a good spouse for the whole time, while they will raise offspring. During the dance, the birds manage to "conspire" to understand each other.
Then the grebes begin to build a nest from the vegetation that is in the pond. The male takes the most active part in the construction. It delivers building material for the nest:
- the remains of reeds,
- Fallen sprigs of trees growing on the shore of a tree.
- seaweed, leaves.
- reed stalks.
The couple is trying to build a nest closer to the reeds. And it does not rush into the eyes, and will not float away if the wind rises. The reeds will hold. The floating home should be spacious enough, strong. In diameter, it is 30-60 cm. Its height reaches up to 85 cm.
Chomga Nest fasten on rafting from peat, caught in the water, or a bunch of accumulated dead vegetation. Sometimes they fix the base on the water between the stems of aquatic plants. When the nest for laying eggs is ready, the chomga allows the male to mate. It happens right on the water.
If several families of grebes settled in one pond, they build nests at a distance from each other, always exceeding a couple of meters. Nests of other birds, such as gulls, may be located nearby.
- Hatching eggs and offspring
The female lays up to 7 snow-white eggs. Over time, the shell darkens, becomes brown-orange, or light brown. This is due to the fact that the plants grow wet on the water, and during the decomposition process they release heat, which is so necessary for the testicles when the female swims to feed.
The male stays near the female for the entire hatching time. He guards the nest, warning with a cry of uninvited guests. Hatching lasts 24 days. But since the chomga rushed, giving 1, rarely 2 eggs every day, ducklings do not hatch immediately, but within a few days.
And while mom toadstool hatches the remaining eggs, dad is feeding and raising offspring. Kids hide in daddy's feathers from danger and warm there if they manage to freeze in cold water. From the first day they appear they are adapted to swimming.
It is interesting that during the hatching of eggs, the male continues to drag leaves and twigs of water plants into the nest. When the female rises from the eggs to warm up and have a bite, she covers the eggs with the available plant material. This is done so that the eggs are not found by predators in the face of sassy crows or moons.
Nature took care of the chomga chicks. They are born striped, which helps them merge with the reeds. And from above they become invisible to predators. Hatched chicks are ready to swim, dive. The first days they spend a lot of time hiding on their backs, under the wings of their parents.
If the chomga notices danger, it dives deep under water with the kids, and emerges far from the place where the predator circled. Pinned wings do not allow ducklings to fall from the back.
Water does not immediately penetrate under the wings, for some time there remains an air cushion. Gradually, the baby’s lungs will get stronger, and they will learn to dive on their own, spending a long time under water.
Until the kids learn how to hunt, their parents feed them. If one of the parents catches fish, swimming away from the nest, the other at this time guards the young. Toddlers swim near their father or hide on his back.
By the end of summer, ducklings will grow up, get stronger. Striped plumage is preserved in them until they are fully grown. When the young growth takes on the color of adult birds, this indicates that it is ready for procreation and mating.
Chomgy live for about 10-15 years. There are cases when in captivity this bird survived to 25 years. Its enemies are birds of prey, wild animals. On the ground, the chomga is especially vulnerable to enemies, since it cannot fly from the ground, and runs on its short legs very poorly.
While hatching, the chomgu is chased by a crow and reed harrier. When a female takes off eggs in search of food, these predators devastate toadstool nests and steal eggs. That is why the drake has to be protected in the absence of a partner. Carnivorous fish often abduct swimming chicks.
The longevity of the toadstools is fundamentally affected by a person’s neglect of the environment and the environment. Discharge of hazardous industrial waste into water bodies reduces the population of birds and the years of its existence allocated by nature.
Koўra sluggish, abo chomga (earlier - Paganka sluggish)
The whole territory of Belarus
Grebe family - Podicipedidae
In Belarus - P. c. cristatus (subspecies that inhabits the entire Palearctic part of the range of the species).
Nesting, migratory and migratory in transit and in a small number of wintering species. Distributed throughout Belarus. The most common and largest of the 5 species of our grebes. It is common on nesting and on spans in all areas of the republic where there are suitable stations. Most common in the Vitebsk, northwestern part of the Minsk and Grodno regions, as well as in the lake regions of the Brest region. In the eastern regions of the Mogilev and Gomel regions. large grebes appear mainly on spans, rarely nest due to the lack of necessary land (lakes overgrown with reeds and open water, large backwaters and river branches).
Waterfowl, the largest of the grebes, smaller than a domestic duck, the size of a mallard. The body is well adapted to the aquatic environment: streamlined, valky, covered with a dense feather. The neck is long and thin, in a floating bird almost vertical. The legs are carried far back. The toes are not connected by a continuous swimming membrane, and each along the entire length from the sides is bordered by a wide rowing blade. Claws are flat, nail-shaped. The wings are short and narrow.
The tail feathers are rudimentary, the tail is very short, with a floating bird almost invisible. The beak is straight, pointed. The forearm is strongly compressed laterally, flat.
In Belarus, only one species is similar to a chomga - the gray-cheeked grebe, which is listed in the Red Book of Belarus. A large grebe differs from it in large sizes, a bright “collar” and (adult) reddish beak, in winter - a white neck.
Males and females have the same color. In the wedding dress, the top is blackish brown, the abdomen and neck are in front of a satin-white color. The feathers on the sides are rusty red. There is a dark cap on the head, white cheeks, a chestnut-red “collar” on the neck, black on the edges. On a crown 2 long bunches ("ears") of black feathers. In the first winter outfit there is neither a “collar” nor “ears”, and in general young birds are painted more dullly, the beak is yellow-green. The beak in adults is dark horn, the edges and bases of the beak are red. Legs are olive green in color. The rainbow is bright red. The downy chicks are variegated, along the sides of the neck and on the chest longitudinal white stripes are preserved.
The weight of males is 0.95-1, 6 kg, females of 0, 8 -1, 1 kg. The body length of males is 53–59 cm, the wing length of males is 18–20 cm, females are 17.5–19 cm, tarsus of males are 6–7 cm, females are 6 cm, beak of males is 5–5.5 cm, and females are 4.5– 5 cm. Wingspan 81-90 cm.
Chomga spends almost all the time on the water. Landing on water is low, a long, straight neck rises above an elongated body. He swims and dives perfectly, moving dozens of meters under the water. In danger instantly, without the slightest surge, dives. Under water can be up to 3 minutes. It takes off only from the water after a long run. The flight is straightforward, fast, with frequent flapping wings. However, it is not often possible to see a flying bird - it is extremely reluctant to climb the wing of a chomga. On land he moves with difficulty, waddles.
The voice is very loud and diverse. The voice (Fedyushin and Dolbik) is a rather loud croaking cry of "kroro", as well as the repeated "kuek-kuek". Other authors (Kozulin et al.) Indicate that in the spring they emit a throaty cry of "kkua", and their call - an abrupt "kyuik."
During flights, grebes adhere to the channels of large rivers, feed and rest on the open reaches of the lakes. On the Dnieper, Pripyat, Berezina, Sozh, they can be seen at this time individually, in pairs or small flocks of 3-4, less often 5-8 birds.
Spring migration begins in late March - early April, after opening the reservoirs and lasts until the end of the month. In early springs, birds arrive 10-14 days earlier than average, in cold and long - about the same number of days later.
It nests in reservoirs of various types (lakes, fish ponds, reservoirs, river plants), but if there is a mandatory presence of both a sufficient width of the strip of thickets of surface vegetation and areas of open, fairly deep water. As a rare exception, nesting on deprived sandy shores of reservoir islands is known. Avoids small forest ponds, rare in small floodplain lakes.
It settles in monogamous pairs, but in favorable places it can form nesting clusters from several to two dozen pairs, sometimes up to 100 pairs. In small ponds, it often nests in separate pairs.
Nesting is preceded by mating games with a demonstration of various current poses. The main function of mating games is the formation of the most harmonious pairs and therefore it is not necessary that they end with mating. With the beginning of the construction of the nest, the intensity of marriage ceremonies decreases.
Birds do not start nesting soon, usually from the end of May,
when a young reed or reed rises above the water. However,
The timing of nesting and laying of toadstool eggs depends on their habitat.
On lakes where last year’s dry reeds and nests are preserved
immediately can be hidden in it, masonry appear earlier than on-
covered lakes or where reeds mow.
The laying of eggs is also preceded by complex mating games of the male and the female, during which both birds first dive at the same time, and when they emerge, they quickly swim towards each other, raising their crests on their heads and protruding feathers of the collar. Having approached, the birds seem to stand on the water, giving the body a vertical position. Diving, they take out bunches of green from the bottom and, holding them in their beaks, shock their prey, trying to strike each other.
Mating large grebes, however, does not occur on water, but on a floating floor from the remnants of last year's reeds or on an unfinished nest.
The nest is located, as a rule, among high-stemmed coastal thickets, in the absence of a wave breaker - often along their very edge. Avoid nesting in the middle of continuous thickets. Nests are located at such a distance from the edge of the thicket that a strong wave could not destroy them. Most nests are found among reeds, although they can often be found in reeds, in cattail massifs, or among flooded shrubs. Sometimes, at the border of vast dense thickets, the bird makes nests in a very small patch of vegetation or even completely open in shallow water. Chomgy sometimes build nests next to colonies of gulls directly on the sand under the cover of a rare reed.
Both members of the pair build nests together. At the nesting site, the couple usually first builds several nesting platforms, but uses only one to build the nest, and mates or rests on the others. The nest keeps afloat or rests on the bottom of the reservoir. The construction of one nest usually takes from 3 to 8 days, sometimes up to 10-11 days. During its construction, the bird, as a rule, lays several strong stems between the plants sticking out of the water as a base. The composition of the building material largely depends on the nature of the surrounding vegetation. They can serve last year's stems, leaves, rhizomes, roots, algae. The height of the nest is 24-49 cm, the height of the surface of the nest is 3-7 cm, the diameter is 41-55 cm, the depth of the tray is 2.5-4 cm, the diameter is 11-17 cm.
Bunches of green plants are sometimes in the tray. In the nests found on open sandy shores, fragments of tree branches were found in the building material.
Under the weight of the incubating bird, the warmed masonry is often partially immersed in water. The heat from decaying plant debris creates a special microclimate for incubated eggs.
The eggs in the clutch are usually 4-5, less often 3 or 7 (in other regions of Europe, finds of nests containing 8 and even 9 eggs are known). The eggs are slightly elongated. The shell without gloss, initially bluish in color, is unevenly coated with a white coating, through which the main background appears with uneven spots. In the nest, the eggs lie on a wet tray, often even semi-submerged in water, which creates special conditions for the development of the embryo. Under the influence of moist rotting plants of the tray, the shell acquires a yellowish, then brown and dark brown color. Egg weight 38 g, length 56 mm (53-61 mm), diameter 37 mm (34-41 mm).
Great grebe, despite the early arrival, coinciding in time with the release of ponds from the ice, starts nesting late and breeds once a year. In general, the egg-laying period is extended by approximately one month. In some water bodies, as a result of significant fluctuations in the water level, strong wave breakdown, or for other reasons, the first masonry often die. In such cases, the bird resorts to re-nesting.
The nesting period in Belarus stretches from early May to late July. Chomga egg laying usually occurs in the first half of the day, the interval between egg laying is 1-2 days. Hatching begins with the first or second egg. The duration of incubation is 25–28 days. The bird, alarmed during incubation, covers the clutch with nest material and dives, floating up to the side. In different parts of the hatching area, one egg is usually unfertilized.
Both parents incubate alternately. Chicks hatch on the 27-28th day of hatching, they are brood type and, having barely dried, go into the water. Chicks hatch one at a time in 1–2 days. Mass appearance of chicks occurs in the third decade of June - the first decade of July. In some pairs, chicks hatch in the first and second decades of June, in others in the third decade of July - the first decade of August. Average brood sizes with down jackets of 1-5 chicks. The hatched chicks, having dried, immediately climb onto their back to the hatching parent and burrow into the feathers. In the same way, little chicks travel through the pond. They do this even when they reach half the height of an adult bird. The first ten weeks they themselves can not get food. Their parents feed them first with insects, and then with fish. At this time, the squeak of chicks begging for food from adult birds is constantly heard in the pond. Chicks swim well, but grow slowly and stay long with their parents. If there is one chick in the brood, then only one parent remains with it. If there are more chicks, then after 1–1.5 months the brood is divided, and each parent leads his own group.
Young birds become independent at the age of about 65 days and only at the age of 71–79 days they become completely independent, however, they stay together with their parents until the birds leave. Some young people in the end of July - the first half of August acquire the ability to fly and begin to make pre-migration migrations. They begin to be found in those reservoirs where the birds did not nest. During migrations, they continue to be held by broods.
After a striped downy outfit (individual fluffs remain until the fall), the young put on a juvenile outfit, generally similar to an adult, but with a barely outlined “collar” of the occipital feathers. On the sides of the head are still brownish-black stripes, which gives the plumage of the head a resemblance to a downy outfit. After juvenile
molting birds put on a winter pre-nuptial outfit, almost indistinguishable from the mating attire of adult birds.
The change of mating outfit for winter takes place in birds from June to the end of July. Adult molting begins immediately after the nesting period, mostly in July, and lasts until November. The flyworms, apparently, are replaced simultaneously. In winter, from February to April, only small feathers change. Winter plumage is replaced by mating at the end of wintering - in March - April.
Chomgi are active in the daytime. They get food in the daytime. During the breeding season (current) are active at night. They also migrate at night. They rest afloat, in the breeding season for rest they often use nests left after hatching and leaving chicks or built additional ones.
The main food of large toadstools is fish, mainly of small sizes (3-8 cm). In their diet, fish occupies a much larger part than other types of grebes. In different seasons of the year, the percentage of fish consumption by poultry always remains quite high. In addition to fish, it catches aquatic insects (swimmers and other bugs), amphipod crustaceans, and mollusks. Own small feathers are swallowed, not only adult birds, but also downy chicks swallowing adult feathers.
Chicks are fed with insects and fish. Chomga dive, forage and swim to the chicks with food in their beaks. In addition, the chomga also collect food from the surface of the water, in a semi-submerged state, lowering their heads and neck under the water, they catch flying insects in the air.
The main way to get food from toadstools is diving. Chomga dive up to three times per minute, swim under water 6–25 m in 10–30 seconds. On average, 1 out of 5 attempts to fish is successful. If the adult manages to grab the feed, the young ones with a squeak rush towards their parents and try to grab it. Chicks are also trying to dive.
Autumn departure and flight of birds in southwestern Belarus occurs mainly in the middle of September - October, in some years until mid-November. As an exception, flocks of several tens and even hundreds of individuals are found on the autumn migration, more often flocks of 3-5 birds. In autumn, the bulk of grebes arrives in the second half of September and in October. Some individuals are found later. In the Grodno regionsome individuals even winter in the ice-free areas of the Neman. In the south-west of Belarus, up to 10–20 individuals winter in a number of years on non-freezing sections of the Mukhavets, Western Bug rivers and treatment facilities.
It is not a hunting species (like other grebes) - although they are edible, they have a dark color and an unpleasant fishy taste and smell. Chomga is sometimes shot along the way when hunting ducks. The harm caused by eating fry of fish can be really felt only on the growing ponds of fish farms.
The main enemies of the chomga during the nesting period are the marsh harrier, magpie, gray crow, which peck masonry. A certain part of down jackets dies from the marsh moon and large birds of prey, pike. Many nests also die from fluctuations in water level and during a strong wave. Birds die in fishing nets.
However, in recent years, despite the high percentage of death of nests, the number of large grebes is progressing, which is facilitated by the expansion of the network of fish farms and other artificial reservoirs.
The number of chomga in Belarus in the 1990s was estimated at 8–10 thousand breeding pairs. She remained the same in the early 2000s. During wintering in non-freezing reservoirs, no more than 50-60 individuals are recorded. Over the past 20 years, there has been a slight increase in numbers, due to the expansion of the network of fish farms and other artificial reservoirs.
The maximum age registered in Europe is 19 years 3 months.