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Fulica cornuta

Horned Coot

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae


Fulica cornuta

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile; 28 March 2010 © CSQ

Like the closely related Giant Coot (Fulica gigantea), the Horned Coot is a massive coot, although smaller than the giant. This coot has a more restricted and southern range than the Giant Coot, and it is found in lakes in more arid desert Puna. The most impressive feature of this bird is the large fleshy proboscis that lies on top of the bill, the “horn.” The role of this feature is not clearly known although it is reported that the horn can be raised during display. Another curious feature of the behavior of this little known coot is that its nest tends to be build on a large mound of stones that allow the nest to be placed away from the shore, but above the water’s surface. This mound of stones may be several feet wide at the base, and estimated to be composed of up to 1.5 tons of material! The coots themselves create the mounds, although they may be used for many years in a row.

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Recommended Citation

. 2010. Horned Coot (Fulica cornuta), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Freshwater lakes and ponds
  • Foraging Strata:Water (below surface)
  • Foraging Behavior:Surface dive
  • Diet:
  • Sociality:Single-Species Flocks
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Near Threatened