Fulica americana
(American Coot)

Order: Gruiformes
Order Description: Rails, Coots, Cranes
Family: Rallidae
Family Description: Rails and Coots

Physical Description:
13-16" (33-41 cm). Slate gray with black head and neck; ivory bill and forehead topped with red ; red eyes; yellow-green legs extending to big lobed feet; white patches on either side of the tail. Immatures are paler with a duller bill.

Similar Species- Common Moorhen

Calls varied; mostly raucous, grating croaks and cackles.

Breeds from Alaska (casually), east across parts of Canada, and south (locally) to southern Baja California, Gulf Coast, Florida, and portions of Central America. Winters along Pacific Coast, north to southwestern U.S., lower Ohio Valley, and Maryland, and south through southeastern U.S. and Middle America to Panama and probably Colombia.

Found on calm, open water with plenty of algae and other aquatic vegetation, such as freshwater lakes, ponds, marshes, and larger rivers, wintering also on brackishClick word for definition estuaries and bays. Also found on land bordering these habitats.

Eats seeds, roots, and other plant material, insects, snails, small fishes, tadpoles, and other small organisms.

Builds concealed nest over water. Feeds on land and in water. Often found in groups when not breeding.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 6- 22 eggs (most often 8-12 in North America) for 23-24 days. Young are tended by both parents, though brood may be divided between them. Young first fly probably at 7-8 wk.

Element Code: ABNME14020
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.