The American Coot (Fulica americana) is a waterbird found throughout North America. This species is easily recognizable by its black feathers, white bill, and distinctive red eyes. They are medium-sized birds, with an average length of 15 inches and a wingspan of approximately 24 inches. The average weight of an adult American Coot is around 1.2 pounds.
The American Coot can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, such as freshwater marshes, ponds, and lakes. They are excellent swimmers and divers, and their lobed toes enable them to walk easily on floating vegetation. In addition to their swimming abilities, they are also strong fliers and are known to migrate long distances. During the winter months, many American Coots migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America.
In addition to their distinctive physical characteristics, the American Coot is also known for its unique vocalizations. They make a variety of sounds, including a high-pitched kee-kee-kee and a more nasal kow-kow-kow. These sounds are often heard in wetland habitats, and they are used to communicate with other coots.
During breeding season, American Coots can be seen performing a variety of courtship displays, including bill-tossing and head-bobbing. They typically build their nests on floating vegetation or along the edges of wetlands. Females will lay an average of 8-12 eggs per clutch, and both parents will take turns incubating the eggs.
Overall, the American Coot is a fascinating and unique waterbird species found throughout North America. Their distinctive black plumage, white bill, and red eyes make them easy to identify, and their strong swimming and diving abilities make them well-suited for life in wetland habitats. Whether you spot them during migration or see them nesting in a freshwater marsh, the American Coot is a bird worth watching.