American Coot
 Photo  Photo

General description.

The American Coot also has white undertail coverts and a red swelling at the upper edge of his shield, visible at close range. The versatile coot is a member of the rail family, but looks like a duck with a small head and chicken-like bill. He can be seen swimming in open water with ducks. His body is compressed so he can also move easily among reeds and marsh vegetation. They will become domesticized if fed scraps of bread.

Juvenile appearance.

Similar to adult, but with a paler bill.

Flight pattern.

Without natural enemies until now, some species have lost the ability to fly. If they do, however, the coot patters over the water before becoming airborne. They make up for this lack of aerial agility by running across wetlands on flattened, fingerlike lobes on each toe, which also aids in swimming and diving.

Breeding habits.

The American Coot breeds on ponds and in marshes in Western Canada and New York and locally southward.

Calls or song.

Clucks, cackles and grunts.

Population and distribution.

Moving to coastal bays and inlets the American Coot winters north to British Columbia.

Nesting habits.

The coot lays 8-10 pinkish eggs, spotted brown, on a shallow floating platform of dead leaves and stems anchored to a clump of reeds.

Similar birds:

Purple Gallinule Photo Purple Gallinule
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