Coot - Fulica atra

    Description

    All black and larger than its cousin, the Moorhen, it has a distinctive white beak and 'shield' above the beak which earns it the title 'bald'. Its greenish feet have distinctive lobed flaps of skin on the toes, which act instead of webs when swimming. It patters noisily over the water before taking off and can be very aggressive towards others.

    Identification difficulty
    Habitat

    Mainly on freshwater lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs, rivers and town park lakes when deep enough. Sometimes seen offshore, especially in winter if freshwater areas are frozen.

    When to see it

    All year round

    Life History

    Coots feed on aquatic plants, like duckweed and grasses, and animals such as snails and larvae brought up from the bottom of the pond or river. The nest is built in shallow water from vegetation, and usually in the shelter of vegetation but can be in the open. The young are able to leave the nest and swim (nidifugous) soon after hatching.

    UK Status

    Common and widespread in Britain

    VC55 Status

    Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland both breeding and over-wintering in our area.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map