Mating & Displaying
One of the highlights of grebe behaviour, must be the 'penguin dance'. This is where both birds dive and re-appear with aquatic plants and then paddle quickly across the water to meet up with the vast majority of their bodies above the water. What follows is some head shaking, where some of the 'gift' of plants is lost and mostly ends up around the grebes necks, or in the water.
At other times, during the breeding season, pair bonding takes place. Unlike the 'penguin dance' this involves a 'coming together', which is followed by head shaking. This has also been witnessed happening after a territorial encounter with other pairs or single grebes, cementing the bond between the pair.
In 2012 an element of new behaviour was witnessed when a grebe was either delivering a threat display or displaying to attract a mate. It did this by raising its wings above its body and exposing the white wing patch, which the majority of grebes possess. It is more likely that this behaviour was the latter of the two, as normal threat display is indicated by out-stretching the body lateral to the water surface. A similar behaviour has been witnessed by a Little Grebe, but in that instance the wings were not only raised but 'fluttered'. This may well explain the presence of the very visible white wing panel on grebes, as a measure of fitness, as it does not appear to full-fill any other purpose and certainly not as some form of camouflage, particularly in flight.