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Eurasian Coot

From Opus

(Redirected from Common Coot)
Alternative names: Common Coot; Black Coot; European Coot
Photo by jenygardSouthern Germany
Photo by jenygard
Southern Germany
Fulica atra


[edit] Identification

36–39 cm (14¼-15¼ in)
The Common Coot is very dark grey with a black head and neck, a white forehead and beak and red eyes. The feet are large and lobed.

Newly hatched young are mostly black and have a typical red head. Older juveniles and immatures have pale breast and throat and are mostly light grey to grey-brown on the rest of the plumage. At these ages, the bill is yellowish.

[edit] Distribution

Detail of a Coot's foot, photo by AlanRSlimbridge, England, UK
Detail of a Coot's foot, photo by AlanR
Slimbridge, England, UK

Western Palearctic: a common and widespread bird breeding from the British Isles and Iberia east to Russia and from southern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, south to the Mediterranean. Also breeds on the Balearic Islands, Corsica and Sardinia, Sicily and Cyprus.

A very local breeder in northwestern Africa and the Nile Delta, in Turkey and the Middle East, has bred in the Canary Islands. Populations in the north and east are migratory, the remainder are resident, dispersive or partially migratory. More widespread in southern parts of the region in winter. Regular winter visitor to the Azore Islands (has bred) and the Canary Islands.

Asia and Australasia: Found in much of the region with northern populations being migratory.

[edit] Vagrancy

Vagrant north to Svalbard, Iceland (has bred) and the Faroe Islands.

A young Coot, photo by AlanRCotswold Water Park, England, UK
A young Coot, photo by AlanR
Cotswold Water Park, England, UK

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are 4 subspecies1:

  • F. a. atra - Palearctic; winters to Africa, Indonesia and Philippines
  • F. a. lugubris - Mountains of Java and northwest New Guinea
  • F. a. novaeguineae - Mountains of central New Guinea (some sources do not recognize this subspecies, instead including these birds in F. a. lugubris2)
  • F. a. australis - Wetlands of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Buru Island.

[edit] Habitat

Photo by LensNVStanwick Lakes, Northamptonshire, July 2012
Photo by LensNV
Stanwick Lakes, Northamptonshire, July 2012

Breeds on lakes and large ponds, frequently on reservoirs, gravel-pits and ponds in urban parks and also slow-flowing rivers. In winter often moves to larger; more open waterbodies, estuaries and on occasion, the sea. Not shy and frequently feeds in fields.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Although they are omnivorous, they have a mainly vegetarian diet consisting of seeds and shoots of aquatic (occasionally terrestrial) plants.

[edit] Breeding

After breeding, this species has a period where moult makes the birds unable to fly3.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, India, Dec-2016
Members of a feeding group in the morning with two different types of calls. Also heard are brief calls by Oriental Darter (twice), Red-wattled Lapwing (once) and Oriental Magpie Robin (whistle-like, once), in this soundscape.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Birdlife International
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2016)

[edit] External Links


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