In the Patagonian Andean region, the Great Grebe is known as Huala, an onomatopoeic term after one of its most common calls, consisting of far-carrying long, pitiful and loud notes. It is easily identifiable for its colours, large size, silhouette and habits.
Disputes break out when territories are invaded. When chicks become juveniles family groups consisting of parents and three or more immature can be seen. The young remain with their parents until they become independent. It feeds both on the surface of the water and diving; diet consists mainly of fish, molluscs, crustaceans, insects, larvae, water plant buds and feathers.
An excellent swimmer and diver, it will rarely fly to escape from danger, most likely it will take a long dive that may last up to 30 seconds, and reappear a short distance away. If danger persists, it dives several times. When at rest or when sleeping, it places its neck on its back, keeping the bill forward and the tail upright; on land, if ever, it walks with difficulty.
Great Grebe (Podiceps major)
During the breeding season, both sexes play an active role in an elaborate complex courtship ritual. Floating nests are built with water plants in late spring.
The monotypic race, Podiceps major major, is common in northern and central Argentina, but may reach Patagonia where it occurs mainly in coastal waters all along the Patagonian Atlantic shoreline. This race has been repeatedly observed in the coastal waters of Golfo Nuevo, Puerto Madryn, province of Chubut.