Magnify and Expand

American Coot


Nests are built floating on the water and attached to vegetation for stability. These nests are reused and can be shared between birds. A typical clutch consists of 6-11 eggs.


Latin: Fulica americana

Average length: M 16.2", F 16.2"

Average weight: M 1.5 lbs., F 1.2 lbs.


While the American coot resembles a duck, it is not actually a duck species. Coots have chicken-like beaks, legs, and feet. Both drake and hen coots are grey in color but appear black from a distance. Their beaks are white with a faint red strip near the tip. The easiest way to tell the sex of a coot is its voice.

American Coot Range

Food Habits

While typically herbivores, coots are opportunistic and eat a highly varied diet depending on their current habitat. Foods range from pondweeds, duckweeds, algae, aquatic invertebrates, and mollusks.


While limited numbers of coots can still be found in the Atlantic and Pacific Flyways, the greatest concentration of coots exists in the Central and Mississippi Flyways. The coot population overall is increasing at a very moderate rate.

Migration and Wintering

The highest coot breeding density exists in the nothern Prairie Pothole Region and wintering numbers are highest in the southern Mississippi Flyway.