The food and feeding behaviour of the Southern Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus australis
) were studied on the Ashburton lakes (South Island, New Zealand) in 1979 and 1980. Of 47 food items eaten on the surface by adults, 55.5% were fish, 31.9% were insects and 12.6% were plants. Chicks in their first week ate mainly fish under 55 mm long. Both adults and chicks ate feathers. One pellet contained feather, fish, insect,
plznt and egg remains. Dives lasted on average 20-30 seconds. Feeding success of adults was high while they were feeding chicks. The New Zealand and European subspecies are compared. Differences suggest that much less food is available in New
Zealand, which may affect productivity and population size.