The small, declining population of flightless Junin grebes is found only in one lake in the Andes, and therefore faces an extremely high risk of extinction. Like all other grebes, it is a specialized waterbird that is virtually unable to move on land, but is an excellent swimmer and diver. Its soft, dense plumage is dark grey on the top of the head, contrasting with a large black area on the nape. The lower part of the face, chin, neck and underparts are white. The silvery drab-grey feathers on the sides of the head are slightly elongated, a feature which juveniles and non-breeding adults lack (2) (3). Its slim, long neck and small head are perfectly streamlined for diving when searching for food, and its lobed, flexible toes, are used to propel and steer them underwater, making grebes extremely agile swimmers (4). The slender bill is mostly grey (5), the feet are pale yellowish, and it has bright red eyes (3). Melodic whistles, such as doo’ith, wit, or a long phooee-th, are heard when this bird is trying to attract a mate (3).
- Length: 33 – 38 cm (2)