The American coot is a migratory bird that lives in wetlands and open bodies of water in North America. Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 10, 2015: Thanks for sharing the interesting information and photos, Sheila. A juvenile American Coot swimming in water with reeds. Females will begin to re-nest clutches in an average of six days if clutches are destroyed during incubation. As the pair bond becomes more evident, both males and females will initiate billing only with each other and not other males or females. In winter, they can be found as far south as Panama. Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 24, 2020: We have many American coots in our area. Females typically do the most work while building. It nests in well-concealed locations in tall reeds. The female will build a floating nest usually hidden among tall water reeds and lay between 8 and 12 eggs. [7], Coot fossils from the Middle Pleistocene of California have been described as Fulica hesterna but cannot be separated from the present-day American coot. The oldest know coot lived to be a little over 24 years old. During migration, you may see large groups of coots possibly numbering up into the thousands. Notice the bright orange plumage of the chick's head and neck. [23] First the male chases the female. Wonder about the connection to calling someone an ole coor. A typical reproductive cycle involves multiple stages: pairing, nesting, copulation, egg deposition, incubation, and hatching. The American coot is a prolific builder and will create multiple structures during a single breeding season. A juvenile Eurasian coot swimming and foraging in a city pond in the capital city of Berlin Germany. I learned something new after a camping trip to our nearby lake. They prefer fresh water habitats but can be found in salt water habitats in winter months. ardesiaca. Juvenile Coot (Fulica atra) sitting amongst roots of trees, taken in the UK. [2], Much research has been done on the breeding habits of American coots. Male and female coots share incubation responsibility, but males do most of the work during the 21-day incubation period. In the American coot, two levels of androgen and testosterone variation have been discovered—within-clutch and among-clutch variation. In one 4-year study, researchers found that 40% of nests were parasitized, and that 13% of all eggs were laid by females in nests that were not their own. It is often a year-round resident where water remains open in winter. Audrey Howitt from California on January 22, 2016: Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 20, 2015: How interesting, Sheila. They will weigh between 1 and 2 pounds. Coots will often build multiple egg nests before selecting one to lay their eggs in. Once in flight, they are as graceful and beautiful as any other water bird. [citation needed] The oldest known coot lived to be 22 years old. They will normally builds 3 nests during a season. Males and females look alike, with the females being a bit smaller. Conspecific brood parasitic behavior is most common among females trying to increase their total number of offspring. Feet are large, yellow-green, and oddly lobed. The second is the egg nest and a third is used as a brood nest. I love to watch American coots where I live. During breeding season, coots are more likely to eat aquatic insects and mollusks—which constitute the majority of a chick's diet. [22] Coot mate pairings are monogamous throughout their life, given they have a suitable territory. Below is a short slide show I created for your enjoyment. [26], Younger females reproduce later in the season and produce smaller eggs than older females. There is an inverse relationship between egg weights and laying sequence,[24] wherein earlier eggs are larger than eggs laid later in the sequence. Studies have found that mothers will preferentially feed offspring with the brightest plume feathers, a characteristic known as chick ornaments. They prefer freshwater environments but may temporarily live in saltwater environments during the winter months. Yet they are omnivorous, also eating arthropods, fish, and other aquatic animals. This has been proven by researchers clipping some chick’s plumes and finding that the parents preferentially feed the brightest colored chicks first. There has been evidence of birds travelling as far north as Greenland and Iceland. I had seen photos of them but never stopped to read. [36], The American coot is listed under "least concern" by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. [4], The coot mating season occurs during May and June. Chicks that do not match the imprinted cues are then recognized as parasite chicks and are rejected. Body mass in females ranges from 427 to 628 g (0.941 to 1.385 lb) and in males from 576 to 848 g (1.270 to 1.870 lb).