Posted by: aboutbirds | September 29, 2009

The American Coot

The American Coot, Fulica americana, is an interesting bird. It’s not exactly a duck or a goose, but it’s more like a rail. However, it’s very easily identifiable because of its coloring and shape.

Identification Features:


  • Males are slightly larger
  • Short, whitish bill
  • Overall grey coloration
  • White on trailing edge while flying
  • Head and neck are black
  • Frontal shield on bill has brownish spot
  • Red eyes
  • Legs are a greenish yellow


  • Duller and paler overall
  • More whitish underparts
  • Dusky colored bill


  • Grunting and cackling notes
  • Emphatic puck, croooah, and punk-unk-punk-uh-punk-unk-uh
  • Vocal during the day and the night


Credit: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Conservation Status:

  • Least Concern by the IUCN

Fun Fact:

  • Even though its body is similar to that of a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. It has lobed feet instead.

Where I Have Seen It:

  • Monterey, CA
  • North Deer Island, Galveston, TX
  • High Island, Bolivar Peninsula, TX

Notice the webbed feet?

Well, there you have the unique American Coot.

‘Till next time – enjoy!


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