Coot: pictures and characteristics of this bird. Female and male coots, plumage, nutrition and useful information.
It is not necessary to use the dictionary to understand that thecootsare among thewaterfowlwhich are most often seen on the banks of water basins; a walk on the shore of a lake is enough and it is easy to be intrigued by this animal: it nests on the shores of any basin and it is not uncommon to see a hatching of small chicks, just like the one shown in the image above.
Among the aquatic birds I also point out theKingfisher etheCormorant.
Coot or Fulica atra
Therecootit's awater birdthat manages to dive up to 7 meters deep and remain in apnea for more than half a minute. Therecootit does not feed only on fish: it is omnivorous! It mainly eats vegetables such as algae, roots and rhizomes of aquatic plants, it does not disdain insects, small fish and various invertebrates that it can capture just below the surface of the water.
Therecoothas a plumage waterproofed by an oily liquid produced by exocrine glands (uropygium). Not allwaterfowlthey have impermeable plumage, the cormorant, for example, is forced to dry its wings in the sun, assuming its typical position with semi-spread wings.
Thecoots, to ensure a good waterproofing of the feathers, with the beak they are able to spread this oily substance: the beak is therefore used as a sort of comb!
Thecootsthey are easy to distinguish: they have a completely black plumage and, in the frontal area, they sport a white peak. This white spot is present in bothmalethan in the female.
Coot: legs and characteristics
The body has an average length between 32 and 42 cm. The weight is between 585 and 1100 g of the most nourished adult specimens.
In adults, the plumage is completely black, in contrast with the white shield placed on the head and the robust light beak. The iris of the eyes is red.
Thelegsof this animal have a color ranging from black to greenish to yellow. They have long and lobed "fingers" that allow excellent swimming skills.
THEchicks of coots, at the time ofhatching of eggs, they are completely yellow. The plumage will soon become gray-black except for the area of the head which will remain yellow - reddish for a long time as well as the beak (in red) and the throat area. As it grows, thecoot chickit will become darker and darker, keeping the throat clear and the chest lighter for a long time. The young specimens lack the "white front shield".
It is a territorial species: once the couple is formed, it will defend its territory and will be aggressive towards unwanted guests. The scientific nameFulica atra, basically, underlines the aggressiveness of this species. The term fulica derives from the Latin "cobra" and atra is the feminine form of ater, which means "dark / black".
Common coot: where it lives
Its scientific name isFulica atra, it is an aquatic bird of the Rallidae family that lives in lakes, rivers, ponds and, in winter, tends to move to sheltered basins.
For the chosen habitats, they are often described as "black swamp birds". They are reluctant to fly because they prefer to walk on the banks of reservoirs or swim.
Thiswater birdit is less discreet and shy than other specimens: it is easy to see it walking among the meadows or swimming near humans.
As stated, thisblack swamp birdit is omnivorous: it feeds mainly on aquatic plants but also on seeds, fruits, rhizomes, invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, snails and worms. It is not uncommon for this bird to also feed on tadpoles and small frogs.
Among the images on this page, there is a beautiful onecoot's nest. The coot's nest does not go unnoticed when lying in open water, but it is often hidden among dense aquatic vegetation.
Thecoot's nestit is floating, made with twigs, plant residues and above all young and soft reeds: to prevent thenestcan be dragged by the current, the coot expertly anchors it to the present aquatic vegetation.
The females lay from 3 to 12 yellowish eggs, the hatching takes place both by the male and by the female and lasts about thirty days. The newly hatched chicks remain in the nest for 4 - 5 days, before going out: it is important to underline that they need parental care for about 8 weeks, before becoming independent and being able to find food.
Coot chicks are easy prey for gulls and herons.
Coots can be considered "severe parents": in situations of stress and food shortages, they can peck offspring to the point of injuring it. This somewhat brutal attitude serves to calm the chicks and prevent them from continuing to complain for food.