Tachybaptus rufolavatus (Delacour)

Alaotra Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus)

This Alaotra Grebe was endemic to lake Alaotra, and surrounding lakes in northern central Madagascar.

The species declined during the 20th century due to habitat desctruction and the introduction of the notoriously predatory Blotched Snakehead (Channa maculata Lacépède), a fish that devoures any animal of suitable size, bird or mammal, that dares to enter the water.

The last remaining birds also hybridized with Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis ssp. capensis (Salvadori)), that are native to Madagascar and shared their habitat with this species.

The last Alaotra Grebe was found and photographed in 1985, the only existing photograph of a living individual (which, however, may already have been a hybrid bird).


Photo: Huub Veldhuijzen van Zanten; Naturalis Biodiversity Center

(under creative commons license (3.0))


edited: 27.11.2018