Red Eyes, Black Feathers and Funny Feet

An Adult American Coot

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The beak has a white shield growing up from the beak and at the top there is a red spot in the adults.

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The feet are rather unique for water fowl because they are not webbed. The coot splays them for walking and standing and puts the toes together when swimming. They feed on aquatic plants, either dabbing on the surface of the water, or diving down to pull up the plants. Out of the water you can see that their body looks rather chicken like, round and plump. That is to help them keep afloat. The disadvantage to this is that it’s quite difficult to get airborne. As a result they have to run across the water for several yards all the while beating their wings before they can actually get in the air. I have not yet seen this, but I hope to at some point, as the sight must be quite remarkable. And because of their fat and plump body, when they dive underwater to get food, they look rather like a bobbing cork, which is quite hilarious!

For more photos, sounds and information about the American Coot, visit this page of The Cornell Lab, All About Birds , and the Audubon’s webpage Better Know a Bird: the American Coot and It’s Wonderfully Weird Feet.

The American Coot
Red eyes, black feathers and funny feet,
And a white shield growing up from my beak.
Tipped at the top with a funny red spot
That makes me unique along with my bright yellow feet.
I’m a Coot, don’t you see, why just look at me.
I’m a handsome odd fellow with my feet dressed in yellow.
So go on yonder to the websites and ponder.
You’ll learn a lot about my bright red spot.
It’s quite a show, just think what you’ll know!

(Not poetry, but at least it rhymes, hopefully providing some amusement.)

Posted for Granny Shot It Bird of the Day, BOTD.

1 thought on “Red Eyes, Black Feathers and Funny Feet”

  1. I’ve just spent 10 minutes Googling Coot species after wondering how many there were. There’s quite a few in South America and it’s thought that the family originated from there.

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