American Coot Fulica americana



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Photos from this Account


Plump waterbird with a rounded head and a sloping bill. Adults are dark gray overall with a white bill tipped in a ring of black.


On land appears rather chickenlike. Note the long lobed toes that help propel it in the water.


Juveniles are pale grayish below with a pale bill.


With good views note the red eye and the white shield that is topped with red.

Adult with juveniles

Right after hatching chicks have bare red spots on their heads, rusty-colored down around their head, and a red bill.


Juveniles are paler overall than adults, especially below and lack the adult's shield.


To get airborne, coots typically need to beat their wings while running across the water for many yards.


Found in ponds, marshes, reservoirs, lake edges, roadside ditches, sewage treatment ponds, and saltwater inlets or salt marshes.

Recommended Citation

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