Coot

American Coot

American Coot

Usually American coots (Fulica americana) can be seen swimming and diving in lakes, ponds or freshwater wetlands. In water the coot looks like a duck. On land this dark grey bird with a bright white bill and yellow-green legs resembles a plump chicken as it grazes on emergent vegetation or preys on insects. The coot does not waddle like a duck. In reality the coot is not a duck, but rather is more closely related to sandhill cranes and rails.

Coots do not have webbing between their toes as ducks do. Instead coots have lobes of skin on their toes that help with swimming. These skin flaps support the weight of the coot on soft or muddy soil, yet do not hinder their walking.

This American coot was feeding at the Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge (Siskiyou County CA).

 

 

 

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