Giant Coot Fulica gigantea


The well named Giant Coot is a huge coot, with massive red legs and feet. It is restricted to parts of the Altiplano, and appears to reach its highest density on Lake Chungara, Lauca National Park in Chile. Giant Coots make a large nesting platform of vegetation which they retrieve from the lake bottom. There is much competition and fighting for nesting material during the nesting season, with individuals commonly stealing vegetation from neighbors. This creates a rather evenly spaced distribution of nests along the shore of nesting lakes, similarly they are uniformly distant from the shore as there is an optimal depth at which to nest build. Apart from the general boisterous activity at nesting sites, these coots are loud and vocal, purring and squawking to each other. Observed up close the bill is complexly multicolored, and the shield is narrow, but creates a crease down the middle of the crown, giving this coot a particularly distinctive head shape. Although these coots are huge they can fly, and disperse due to fluctuating water levels.

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© Natxo Areta

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Giant Coot (Fulica gigantea), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: