AMERICAN COOT


Fulica americana


Description:

When these birds aren't diving and swimming underwater for small fish they seem to be "grooving" their way across the water as they bob their heads to a song that only they seem to be able to hear. Sometimes when they dive you wonder if they are ever going to come back up. An interesting part of these birds is their odd feet. They have proportionally large greenish yellow loabed feet. When taking to flight these birds "walk on water" as the run across the surface to gain speed. Coots breed inland (around Lake Murray for example). The Coots feed on the shore and in the water on small fish and plant matter. They speek in an assortment of grunting and cackling sounds.


Appearance:

All black with white beak and red spot between beak and crown. They have red eyes that stand out nicely against their black feathers. Large greenish yellow feet. 12 to 18 inches in length.


Habitat:

Lakes, ponds and marshes. Coots can be seen by the dozen all year at Lake Murray and nearly every lake/pond in San Diego county.


Nesting:

8-10 pinkish eggs with brown spots and an incubation period of 21-25. Fledging occurs 49-56 days after hatching. They make their nests amoung the reeds and is usually a platform of dead leaves and stems.


Observed Locations:

  • Lake Murray, La Mesa
  • Lindo Lake, Lakeside
  • Mission Bay, San Diego
  • Kumeyaay Lake (Mission Trails Park), San Diego
  • Santee Lakes, Santee
  • Lake Hodges, Escondido
  • Cuyamaca Lake, Cuyamaca
  • Pretty much throught the entire county





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.