The Coot - Fulica atra
Coots are medium-sized water birds that are members of the Rallidae (rail) family. They constitute the genus Fulica. Coots have predominantly black plumage, unlike many rails—they are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. They are close relatives of the moorhen.
Coots have prominent frontal shields or other decoration on the forehead, with red to dark red eyes and coloured bills. Many, but not all, have white on the under tail. The featherless shield gave rise to the expression "as bald as a coot," . Like other rails, they have long, lobed toes that are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. Coots have strong legs and can walk and run vigorously. They tend to have short, rounded wings and are weak fliers
Coots are omnivorous, eating mainly plant material, but also small animals and eggs. They are aggressively territorial during the breeding season, but are otherwise often found in sizeable flocks on the shallow vegetated lakes they prefer.
Meet The birds