During the winter they can also be found in coastal inlets and bays. Some can see even better when they open their beak and look down between the mandibles. 8 to 10 pink eggs with brown spots are laid at a time. Thanks again…. An American coot is omnivorous and eats invertebrates, algae, plants, and small vertebrates such as fish and tadpoles, occasionally, eggs of other marsh birds, … Coots are kleptoparasitic, meaning that sometimes they do not hunt for their own food, but steal it from other birds. Nests are at the edge of reed cover at the pond’s edge. The second one made me guffaw out loud! Food Habits While typically herbivores, coots are opportunistic and eat a highly varied diet depending on their current habitat. Instead, in order to become airborne, they need to take a running start over the water. A group of coots can be called a “commotion”, “shoal”, “swarm” and “fleet” of coots. Since this species is more adapted to living on water than other birds, it is not possible for them to take off from a "dead start" like other birds, which can take flight when startled. An American coot is omnivorous and eats invertebrates, algae, plants, and small vertebrates such as fish and tadpoles, occasionally, eggs of other marsh birds, also sometimes stealing food from ducks. The photos of the Coot shaking his food are great! Spending just a few minutes outside in the clear air photographing an amusing American Coot was exactly what I needed after spending so much time at my desk during the move to the new server. I like the tail shot with the feathers…. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), but its numbers today are decreasing. Wow, as always your images are a joy to see. The waterborne American coot has a small head and thin legs. Copyright Mia McPherson | All Rights Reserved. This species in some areas is now regarded as an agricultural pest, such as on golf courses and in rice fields, and, being a listed game bird, about 8,000 are killed each year in Canada and about 880,000 in the United States. Being freshwater birds, they live in the shallow parts of freshwater ponds, lakes, or marshes, and sometimes in brackish water. Ospreys (a type of hawk) are their main predator. A group of coots is called by many names, including a "codgery", "commotion", “shoal”, “swarm” and "fleet" of coots. It’s good…, Outstanding photographs! Many birds can see that way, I am not sure how clearly. They also serve as prey for predators which share their habitats. Life Cycle. The birds that came in the closest were Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots so I focused on both species as they dove under the water in search of food. Some of the Birds I love at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Wild and Wonderful – Antelope Island State Park – The Scenery, Wild and Wonderful – Antelope Island State Park – The Birds, Wild and Wonderful – Antelope Island State Park – The Wildlife, Journey to Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge – an Oasis in the West Desert of Utah, Photographing An Immature Ferruginous Hawk Hunting For Breakfast, Focusing On Adult Male Rough-legged Hawks, Adult American Robin Gobbling Down A Crabapple – Thanksgiving 2020, Hen And Drake American Wigeon Pair Close To Home, Autumn American Bison Bull And The Great Salt Lake, Adult Common Raven On A Sign At Bear River MBR. The diet of American Coots includes aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, aquatic invertebrates, snails, worms and amphibians. American coots are the only member in the rail family truly adapted to living on the water. Diet: Mainly eats aquatic plants and algae, also some terrestrial vegetation, aquatic invertebrates, and vertebrates. It all make me smile. Despite this, they are closer relatives of the Long-legged sandhill crane and the almost invisible rails than of teal or mallards. The coot dives to retrieve plants that grow on the bottom of ponds. American Coot with food – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light. The north wind was bitter cold and it made my fingers smart but it felt so good to be away from my desk and the computer screen. They occasionally live in manmade ponds in parks and golf courses. Clutch Size: 9 to 10 eggs. Both adults construct a nest of about 35cm across. Beautiful bird ain't it? Nesting and reproduction: American Coots will build several "dummy" nests that are used during courtship and for brooding young. American coots are diurnal social birds that live in flocks, and are the only rail family members to live in groups. The mating process starts on the water and finishes on the land. Diet. Individuals have been sighted as far as Alaska in the north and South America in the south, always along waterways. Even though American coots swim like a duck, their feet are not webbed feet, as each segment of their toes has lobes on the side. The diet of American Coots includes aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, aquatic invertebrates, snails, worms and amphibians. They will also eat small crustaceans, snails, salamanders and tadpoles. American Coots are chunky chicken-like birds with dark to black bodies, red eyes, white bills with a dark ring, and long greenish yellow legs with long toes. American coots are migratory, and they migrate as a flock, but their migration is weather-based and therefore is highly irregular. My site was getting settled into its roost on the new server at the time and there was a bit of a hiccup. Foods range from pondweeds, duckweeds, algae, … I don’t know if you can get that shot in the wild. Nicknames for this bird are "mud hen" or "marsh hen", due to the way its head bobs when it walks or swims. Although now widespread and abundant, the American coot suffered huge declines during the late 18th century and the early 19th century due to hunting and loss of wetland in its main breeding areas in the mid-west of the United States and in east-central Canada. American coots are monogamous and pairs stay together for life. Great series of shots. American Coots can be found throughout North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. After I finally got my site moved to the new server I took a much needed break and went to the local pond to see what birds were there in the late afternoon light. They share the tasks of feeding and teaching the young, dividing the hatchlings between them. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. They have a ramp leading into the water for easier access for the young. I've seen a few Rough-legged Hawks but have never been…, Gnatcatchers, Kinglets, Dippers and Others, Mockingbirds, Thrashers, Catbirds, Starlings and Pipits, Waxwings, Longspurs and Silky-Flycatchers. Have you watched American Bitterns, they seem to always be looking under their beaks with the beak pointed up in the air. Their main diet consists of algae and aquatic plants such as algae, waterlilies, and cattails and will sometimes eat grains or leaves from oak, elm and cypress trees. American Coots lay 2 to 12 eggs which hatch in 21 to 25 days. The American Coot will dive for food, such as small fish, but they prefer to forage on plant material. Both parents incubate the eggs, for around 21 to 25 days. Do not download, display, PIN, print, hotlink, reproduce or use my images without my permission. During winter, they occur in the southern United States from Florida to California. On two occasions a coot will splash: in the mating season for the purpose of attracting attention, and also to discourage predators. Water droplets were flying everywhere. Possibly with a great blue heron, egrets or bitterns. The American coot eats small aquatic animals like fish and tadpoles as well as insects and vegetation.