On lakes, reservoirs and meres this grebe is fairly common, though at one time, owing to its slaughter for its satiny breast feathers, it became almost extinct. It is an expert diver and feeds on fish.
The nest is just a pile of rotting vegetation usually placed among reeds or other water plants. The nestlings are able to swim soon after they are hatched, but often they climb on to their parent's back and are carried about the water. In winter the adult loses the frill which adorns the face and becomes a pale grey and white bird.