Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons

  • © Jorge Schlemmer

The Red-fronted Coot is perhaps the most unique of the small coots of South America’s southern cone. In a place where coot diversity is very high compared to the rest of the world, it does make one ask “why are there so many coots in southern South America, and how do they divide up the habitat?” Well, the Red-fronted Coot is particularly common in areas where the Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) does not exist. Unlike a typical coot, the Red-fronted is much more moorhen like, keeping close to cover and often swimming and foraging within the emergent vegetation itself rather than out in the open as in typical coots. Red-fronted Coots also have a long tail like moorhens, and vocally resemble them in some ways as well. The frontal shield of the Red-fronted Coot is pointed at top and relatively flat. The shield and bill base is red, while the bill itself is yellow. When swimming this coot is rather flat backed and long, again resembling a moorhen. It would not be surprising if this coot was in fact part of a branch somewhere intermediate between coots and moorhens. Perhaps it is distinctive enough to deserve its own genus unless of course all similarities to moorhens are convergent?

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© Natxo Areta

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

Recommended Citation

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