American Coot

Apr 4 • Amazing Pets, Birds • 2539 Views • 6 Comments on American Coot



The American Coot is a migratory bird that occupies most of North America.It lives in the pacific and southwestern United states and Mexico year-around and occupies more northeastern regions during the summer breeding season.In the winter they can be found as far south as panama.Coots generally build floating nests and lay 8-12 eggs per clutch.Females and males have similar appearances,but they can be distinguished during aggressive displays by the larger ruff(head plumage) on the male.American Coots eat primarily algae and other aquatic plants but also animals when available.

The American Coot is listed as “Least Concern” under the IUCN conservation ratings.Hunters generally avoid killing American Coots because their meat is not as sought after as that of ducks.



The American Coot is a plump,chicken like bird with a rounded head and a sloping bill.Their tiny tail,short wings,and large feet are visible on the rare occasions they take flight.



Coots are dark-grey to black birds with a bright-white bill and forehead.The legs are yellow-green.At close range you may see a small patch of red on the forehead.


  • LENGTH: 15.5–16.9 in, 39.4-42.9 cm
  • WINGSPAN: 23-25 in, 58.4–63.5 cm
  • WEIGHT: 21.2-24.7 oz, 600-700 g
  • RELATIVE SIZE:About two-thirds the size of a Mallard.




A slow forager,American Coot plucks at plants while walking,swimming,dabbling with its head just underwater,or in full dives.In flight Coots are clumsy and labored.To get airborne,coots typically have to beat their wings while running across the water for many yards.Coots sometimes gather in winter flocks of several thousand ,sometimes mixing with other waterfowl.They sometimes steal food from other including ducks.Coots sometimes lay their eggs in nests of others.




The Coot mating season occurs during May and June.Coot mates pairings are monogamous throughout their life,given they have a suitable territory.A typical reproductive cycle involves multiple stages:pairing,nesting,copulation,egg deposition.The American Coot typically has long courtship periods.This courtship period is characterized by billing,bowing and nibbling.


Heavy stands of emergent aquatic vegetation along at least some portion of the shoreline and atleast some depth of standing water within those stands of vegetation.Seasonal wetlands used during years of high water,while drought years cause breeding to be limited to permanent wetlands.



They eats mainly aquatic plants like algae, duckweed, eelgrass,wild rice, sedges, hydrilla, water milfoil. When on land they also pick at terrestrial plants and sometimes eat grains or leaves of oak,elm,and cypress trees.






Another coot is unlikely to remove eggs from its nests in fear that they are removing one of their own. It also states that it is possible that parasitism could be a temporary strategy.Younger coots could primarily employ this mechanism due to lack of territory or a nest.As being eggs placed in the wrong nest wasn’t enough ,baby american coots have another challenge,competition among their peers.



Display platforms are used as roosting sites and are left to decompose after copulation. Egg nests are typically 30 cm in diameter with a 30-38 cm ramp that allows the parents to enter and exit without tearing the sides of the nests. Coots will often build multiple eggs nests before slecting one to lay their eggs in.


Its price is around $32 to $ 50 depending upon the various breeds.

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