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American Coot -Fulica americana



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Gruiformes
 Family: Rallidae
 Genus: Fulica
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern


American CootEven though the American coot swims like a duck, once it is on land it looks more like a chicken. Its short wings make it difficult for it to take off, but once it is in the air, the coot is a good flier. The American coot is dark gray to black in color with a bright white bill. It has bright red eyes and a red bump on the top of its bill. It has large feet with lobed toes.


mapThe American coot is migratory and has a large range. It lives throughout North America. In the summer, the American coot lives in Canada and the northern United States, as far east as New York. Come winter, it lives from Washington state to Central America, west across the United States and south into Florida and the Caribbean.


American CootThe American coot lives in shallow freshwater lakes, ponds or marshes. Sometimes, it is seen in brackish water. It is commonly seen in city parks, reservoirs, and sewage treatment ponds.


American CootThe American coot eats small aquatic animals like fish and tadpoles as well as insects and vegetation. The coot dives to retrieve plants that grow on the bottom of ponds. The American coot is known to steal food from other birds.


Life Cycle

American CootBreeding begins in May and June. The male and female build a nest together at the edge of a pond, usually in an area with large reeds that will hide the nest. The female lays 8-10 pink eggs with brown spots. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs, which hatch in about 23 days.

American CootAfter a month, chicks can dive for their own food. After 5-6 weeks, the chicks can fly. The young leave their parents after two months. American coots typically live up to nine years, but the oldest known coot lived to be 22 years old.


American CootThe American coot builds its nest with a ramp leading into the water, so it's easier for their young to get in and out!

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Daniel Lane cc logo