American Coot

Fulica americana

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  • American Coot |  Photo: Munsel, OR Dept. F&W
  • American Coot |  Photo: Munsel, OR Dept. F&W
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American Coot Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Gruiformes

Family

Rallidae

Size

American Coots are generally between 15.25 and 17 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 15 years

Weight

American Coot (Fulica americana) facts, habitat, range, coot pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the game bird.

Diet

Omnivore

Behavior

Probing

Range

Migratory: Nationwide

Nest Placement

Floating

Number of Offspring

8–11 Eggs

Egg Description

Buff Pink with brown specks

Condition at Hatching

Active, eyes open, down covered

Social Status

Flocks

Wingspan

22.75–25.25 in

Observation Tips

Look for American Coots while hiking along trails running near lakes or small ponds. Their black bodies and bright white heads make them easily identifiable.

What does the American Coot look like?

American Coots are stubby chicken-like gamebirds. They have round heads, downward sloping white bills, short yellowish green legs, and dark gray to black plumage.

American Coot Habitat

Lakes-Ponds

American Coot Facts

American Coots look like ducks, swim like ducks, but are not ducks. They belong to their own distinctive order and do not have webbed feet. They have long toes that have wide lobes of skin that aids in kicking through water. These lobes fold back when they are on land. American Coots are actually genetically more closely related to the gangly Sandhill Crane than the common Mallard. They are clumsy in flight and need a long runway to take off. They will aggressively defend their nests but still often fall victim to crows, foxes and other predators.

See also