Little Grebes are found on still and slow moving waters from western Europe and northwest Africa eastwards to Japan and New Guinea and southwards to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and the Indian sub-continent. They are mostly sedentary, though those breeding in central and eastern Europe and the colder parts of Asia migrate south and east to escape the harshest winters.
    In Britain they were originally commonest in southern England and Wales but expanded northwards from the mid 19th century and are now widespread through most of lowland Great Britain. The range of their breeding season distribution expanded by 23% between the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas and Bird Atlas 2007-2011, though with some variations, up and down, between those dates.
    Wiltshire's rivers, especially the Kennet and the Salisbury Avon and its tributaries, and other water bodies such as the Cotswold Water Park and the lakes around Swindon, provide suitable habitat for Little Grebes which are reasonably common throughout the county and probably under-recorded given their secretive nature. Against the national trend, theWiltshire breeding season distribution figures showed a marked decrease between Birds of Wiltshire, when they were recorded in 161 tetrads, with confirmed or probable breeding in 109, and WTA2 when they were recorded in only 118 tetrads with confirmed or probable breeding in 68. 


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.