Ducks and Geese, Pacific Northwest
The American Coot has a white bill that is long and pointed, its head is black and it has grey green legs. The bird is about 40 cm long with about a 75 cm wing span.
Both sexes are similar with a gray to black plumage overall and a black head with a bright red eye. The white bill along with the gray green legs, the un-webbed feet and red spot at top of white frontlet make them very easy to identify.
The American coot is a popular resident of the semi open water in marshes, lakes and ponds, as well as in rivers with similar vegetation. These birds can be found year round along the BC Coastal Region.
These are talkative birds that make a variety of sounds and short calls, including clicking and popping sounds.
American coots may feed at the surface or dip to reach food beneath the water, they can dive up to 10 meters deep to feed at the bottom. They eat mostly plant material, including stems, leaves, and seeds of pond weeds, grasses and algae. They will also eat insects, tadpoles, fish, worms, snails, crayfish, prawns and eggs of other birds.
When taking flight, they run along the surface of the water while flapping to gain enough speed for takeoff, like a goose.
These are monogamous birds that form pair bonds. They can lay up to 12 eggs and both parents will care for them, sharing the nest sitting. In about 4 weeks, the eggs hatch all at once and the young will leave the nest within a few of hours. The young are cared for by both parents until they fledge. American coots will sometimes raise 2 broods a year.