Little Grebe Tachybabtus ruficollis, Поганка малая, Փոքր սուզակ
Distribution and biological peculiarities in Armenia: The species occupies North-western and Eastern Europe, Central and Southeastern Asia. Armenia is inhabited by subspeciesA. a. rubrirostris Swinhoe, 1871. In Armenian the species is distributed in Lake Arpi, Lake Sevan basin and Araks Valley south to Armash fish ponds, occupying natural and man-made lakes and reservoirs of all sizes, rivers and floodplains, wetlands with ample growth of Common Reed (Phragmites australis), bulrushes (Scirpus), and cattails (Typha). Year-round resident. Pairs leave wintering flocks in early March. The species breeds in reed thickets approximately 2-10 m from the edge of open water, having from 2 to 6 eggs in the clutch. The fledglings are observed in June. The food of the species is grass, roots, shoots, leaves, stems, seedheads and fruits of other herbaceous marsh vegetation, aquatic plants, and agricultural grain and potatoes (especially in the winter).
Population dynamics: According to the last estimation, population of the species makes from 50 to 100 breeding pairs. Population trend during last ten years demonstrate insignificant decline. The most probable reasons are supposed to be (reasons) poaching during the hunting season, which is resulted by the lack of hunting inspection and lack of hunters education.
Conservation Measures: At current the breeding populations of the species are protected in Lake Arpi National Park. Part of Armash fish ponds have restricted access for hunters as a result of development eco-friendly business model. Part of the breeding and migratory ranges are included in the Emerald Network, protected under Bern Convention. The proposed conservation measures include increase of Emerald Sites for protection of the species and improvement of hunters' licensing conditions. Surprisingly, the species is not mentioned in Important Bird Areas in Armenia although both - the Lake Arpi National Park and Armash fish ponds are recognized as IBAs.