13 October, 2009

American Coot

Scientific Name: Fulica americana

Population Estimate: 6M, Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found year-round in a variety of freshwater habitats throughout the western US and into Mexico. In winter found down into Central America as well as in the southeastern US. In summers, throughout the US and up into Canada.

Field Notes: Adults are black, juveniles lighter. The bill is triangular like a chicken, not flat like a duck, white with a red knob at the base in adults. Red eyes. They are diving waterfowl but can also be seen "pecking" at the water. They do not swim as smoothly as ducks and have a lot of forward-and-back head movement that is distinctive when seen from afar. When on land you can seen the feet that give away their Gruiformes taxonomy.

Personal Notes: Top photo with Minneapolis in the background.

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