April 28, 2008 by Mike 110 Comments. [Three American coot chicks walk on rocks in shallow water. Help power unparalleled conservation work for birds across the Americas, Stay informed on important news about birds and their habitats, Receive reduced or free admission across our network of centers and sanctuaries, Access a free guide of more than 800 species of North American birds, Discover the impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats, Learn more about the birds you love through audio clips, stunning photography, and in-depth text. Probably migrates mostly at night. They are nicknamed "marsh hen" or "mud hen" because of they way their heads bob when they walk or swim. Although none of the vocalizations of American Coot can properly be considered a “song,” this is a highly vocal species that calls with a variety of grunting, croaking, and squawking noises. Virginia rail. It’s the least you can do. Calling American Coot portrait – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light. The American Coot is often mistaken for a duck, but is actually more closely related to the shore birds such as the sand hill crane and the rail than it is to a duck. Eats mostly plant material, including stems, leaves, and seeds of pondweeds, sedges, grasses, and many others, also much algae. Very aggressive in defense of nesting territory. Adult coots are a dark gray in color with short white bills that have a dark band at the tip. Some populations probably permanent resident, others migratory. Are the Trump Administration's Environmental Rollbacks Built to Last? Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Coots are tough, adaptable waterbirds. 6-11, sometimes 2-12. Several similar platforms may be built, only one or two used for nesting. Feet are large, yellow-green, and oddly lobed. New research shows that these apex predators wait for food to fall out of the sky during migration. In taking flight they must patter across the water, flapping their wings furiously, before becoming airborne. Wide variety of foraging methods -- dabbles at surface of water, upends in shallows, dives underwater (propelled by feet), grazes on land. Although they are related to the secretive rails, they swim in the open like ducks and walk about on shore, making themselves at home on golf courses and city park ponds. Plump, chicken-like bird that acts like a duck. Often seen walking on open ground near ponds. Upper edge of frontal shield is red, but usually only visible at close range. Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from Illustration © David Allen Sibley. They run across the water until they get up enough speed to lift off. American Coot: Medium-sized, chicken-like swimming bird, dark gray to black overall, short, white bill and undertail coverts. Adults have a short, thick, white bill and white frontal shield, which usually has a reddish-brown spot near the top of the bill between the eyes. Visit your local Audubon center, join a chapter, or help save birds with your state program. Hunters call them the mud duck and say they taste really bad, but down south they are often used in Cajun dishes like jambalaya. Rare summer resident in marshes with nesting numbers fluctuating greatly between high- and low-precipitation years. Yellow rail. ... in big river floodplains. A group of coots has many collective nouns, including a "codgery", "commotion", "fleet", "shoal", and "swarm" of coots. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a chance to celebrate the diversity and resilience of our country’s original inhabitants, whose long-overlooked ecological knowledge can help guide conservation today. [Explore Macaulaylibrary.org] End of transcript 1 or 2 broods per year. Listen to more sounds of this species from the ML archive. They are members of the family Rallidae , genus f ulica , which comes from the Latin word for “coot”, in this case the species is americana . Adaptable and successful, this bird is common in the marshes of North and South America. This adult American Coot may look like it is screaming but in reality it is simply calling out because another bird got close to it next to the shoreline of a small pond. Or take action immediately with one of our current campaigns below: The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Displays include swimming with head and neck lowered, wings arched, tail raised to show off white patches. The easiest way to tell the sex of a coot is its voice. Legal Notices Privacy Policy Contact Us. Incubation by both sexes, 21-25 days. American coot (call) call. The most common call is a short single-noted krrp or prik. Young probably able to fly at about 7-8 weeks after hatching. Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.