American Coot

Fulica americana
Also called a Mud-hen
not a duck or a chicken-
Member of rail family.
No webbed feet!
Instead, large lobed toes that assist bird to scramble across water
with wings flapping 
Only black water bird with a dark-band on tip of white bill.
Slate gray/black, GREEN legs and feet.
RED eyes, RED patch between eyes, too.
Look-alikes: male and female. 
Feeds on insects, aquatic plants.
Coot pairs build floating mat of vegetation-
raise one brood per year.
Partial migrator, range:
western coastal United States, Mexico, Central America.
Excellent diver; head bobs when swimming.
Click on image below to read Legend of the American Coot:

Do coots have webbed feet? No- they have large lobed toes; and, so, coots are not ducks. The American Coot, smaller than most waterfowl, is the only black water bird with a white bill. Coots are excellent divers and bobs its head while swimming. It eats insects and aquatic plants. This bird is also known as a Mud-hen or Marsh- hen.

This bird is known by many collective nouns: “codgery”, “commotion”, “fleet”, “shoal”, or “swarm” of coots.


  1. I love coots! We were once surprised by a whole family splashing across a two-foot-wide open area of water in what was pretty much otherwise a reed-covered marsh; we heard them before we saw them, and didn’t know what they were until they popped into the open.


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