Coots are rather small water birds that are members of the rail family, Rallidae. They constitute the genus Fulica, the name being the Latin for "coot".[1] Coots have predominantly black plumage, and—unlike many rails—they are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. They are close relatives of the moorhen.

Temporal range: Early Pliocene to present
Fulica atra southampton
Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Fulica
Linnaeus, 1758

For extinct and prehistoric species, see article text

Taxonomy and systematics

A group of coots may be referred to as a covert[2] or cover.[3]

Extant species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Hawaiian Coot RWD1 Fulica alai Peale, 1848 Hawaiian coot or ʻAlae keʻokeʻo Hawaii
American Coot (37712325421) Fulica americana Gmelin, 1789 American coot southern Quebec to the Pacific coast of North America and as far south as northern South America
Andean Coot RWD3 Fulica ardesiaca Tschudi, 1843 Andean coot Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Red-gartered Coot RWD5 Fulica armillata Vieillot, 1817 red-gartered coot Argentina, southern Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
Common Coot Eurasian coot Fulica atra by Dr. Raju Kasambe DSCN3784 (1) Fulica atra Linnaeus, 1758 Eurasian coot or common coot Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa
Tagua cornuda Horned coot (Fulica cornuta) Fulica cornuta Bonaparte, 1853 horned coot Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
Fulica cristata -Cape Town, South Africa -adult-8 Fulica cristata Gmelin, 1789 Red-knobbed coot Africa, Iberian Peninsula
Riesenblaesshuhn fulica gigantea Chile crop Fulica gigantea Eydoux & Souleyet, 1841 giant coot Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru
Fulica leucoptera GALLARETA CHICA Fulica leucoptera Vieillot, 1817 white-winged coot Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay
Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons Philppi & Landbeck, 1861 red-fronted coot Argentina, southern Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, southern Peru, Uruguay

Extinct species


Coots have prominent frontal shields or other decoration on the forehead, with red to dark red eyes and coloured bills. Many, but not all, have white on the under tail. The featherless shield gave rise to the expression "as bald as a coot," which the Oxford English Dictionary cites in use as early as 1430. Like other rails, they have long, lobed toes that are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. Coots have strong legs and can walk and run vigorously. They tend to have short, rounded wings and are weak fliers, though northern species nevertheless can cover long distances.

Distribution and habitat

The greatest species variety occurs in South America, and the genus likely originated there. They are common in Europe and North America.[4] Coot species that migrate do so at night. The American coot has been observed rarely in Britain and Ireland, while the Eurasian coot is found across Asia, Australia and parts of Africa. In southern Louisiana, the coot is referred to by the French name "poule d'eau", which translates into English as "water hen" or "moorhen".[5]

Behaviour and ecology

Coots are omnivorous, eating mainly plant material, but also small animals, fish and eggs. They are aggressively territorial during the breeding season, but are otherwise often found in sizeable flocks on the shallow vegetated lakes they prefer.

Chick mortality occurs mainly due to starvation rather than predation as coots have difficulty feeding a large family of hatchlings on the tiny shrimp and insects that they collect. Most chicks die in the first 10 days after hatching, when they are most dependent on adults for food.[6] Coots can be very brutal to their own young under pressure such as the lack of food, and after about three days they start attacking their own chicks when they beg for food. After a short while, these attacks concentrate on the weaker chicks, who eventually give up begging and die. The coot may eventually raise only two or three out of nine hatchlings.[7] In this attacking behaviour, the parents are said to "tousle" their young. This can result in the death of the chick.[8]


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ "What do you call a group of ...?". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Baltimore Bird Club. Group Name for Birds: A Partial List". Retrieved 2007-06-03.
  4. ^ Olson, Storrs L. (1974). "The Pleistocene Rails of North America". Museum of Natural History.
  5. ^ "American Coot".
  6. ^ "This Coot has a Secret! - NatureOutside". 20 June 2015.
  7. ^ The Life of Birds, David Attenborough. The Problems of Parenthood. 10:20.
  8. ^ Clutton-Brock, TH., The Evolution of Parental Care, Princeton University Press, 1991 p. 203.

External links

American coot

The American coot (Fulica americana), also known as a mud hen, is a bird of the family Rallidae. Though commonly mistaken for ducks, American coots are only distantly related to ducks, belonging to a separate order. Unlike the webbed feet of ducks, coots have broad, lobed scales on their lower legs and toes that fold back with each step in order to facilitate walking on dry land. Coots live near water, typically inhabiting wetlands and open water bodies in North America. Groups of coots are called covers or rafts. The oldest known coot lived to be 22 years old.The American coot is a migratory bird that occupies most of North America. It lives in the Pacific and southwestern United States and Mexico year-round and occupies more northeastern regions during the summer breeding season. In the winter they can be found as far south as Panama. Coots generally build floating nests and lay 8–12 eggs per clutch. Females and males have similar appearances, but they can be distinguished during aggressive displays by the larger ruff (head plumage) on the male. American coots eat primarily algae and other aquatic plants but also animals (both vertebrates and invertebrates) when available.The American coot is listed as “Least Concern” under the IUCN conservation ratings. Hunters generally avoid killing American coots because their meat is not as sought after as that of ducks.Much research has been done on the breeding habits of American coots. Studies have found that mothers will preferentially feed offspring with the brightest plume feathers, a characteristic known as chick ornaments. American coots are also susceptible to conspecific brood parasitism and have evolved mechanisms to identify which offspring are theirs and which are from parasitic females.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens (formerly the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens) are located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the Brisbane CBD in Toowong, Queensland, Australia, at the foot of Brisbane's tallest mountain, Mount Coot-tha.

Coot Club

Coot Club is the fifth book of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series of children's books, published in 1934. The book sees Dick and Dorothea Callum visiting the Norfolk Broads during the Easter holidays, eager to learn to sail and thus impress the Swallows and Amazons when they return to the Lake District later that year. Along with a cast of new characters, Dick and Dorothea explore the North and South Broads and become 'able seamen'.

Duck family (Disney)

The Duck family is a fictional family of cartoon ducks related to Disney character Donald Duck. The family is also related to the Coot, Goose, and Gander families, as well as the Scottish Clan McDuck. Besides Donald, the best-known members of the Duck family are Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Donald's three nephews.

Members of the Duck family appear most extensively in Donald Duck comic stories (although some have made animated appearances). In 1993, American comics author Don Rosa published a Duck family tree which established each characters' relationships for purposes of his stories. Rosa even created a fictional timeline for when certain characters were born. (All birth/death dates given below are Rosa's.) Some other comics authors, both before and after Rosa's family tree, have shown variations in the family.

Electoral district of Maiwar

Maiwar is an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Queensland, incorporating the inner western suburbs of Brisbane. It was created in the 2017 redistribution, and was first contested at the 2017 Queensland state election. It is named for the Indigenous name of the Brisbane River, which is the southern boundary of the electorate.It largely replaces areas of the abolished districts of Mount Coot-tha and Indooroopilly, north of the Brisbane River. Maiwar consists of the suburbs of Mount Coot-tha, Bardon, Auchenflower, Toowong, Taringa, Indooroopilly, St Lucia and Fig Tree Pocket.From results of the last election, Maiwar was estimated to be a marginal seat for the Liberal National Party with a margin of 3.0%. The seat was won at the 2017 Queensland State election by Michael Berkman for the Australian Greens.

Electoral district of Mount Coot-tha

Mount Coot-tha was an electoral district in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland in the state of Queensland, Australia from 1950 to 2017.

The electoral district encompassed suburbs in Brisbane's inner-west, including Milton, Auchenflower, Paddington, Red Hill, Bardon and parts of the suburbs of Toowong, Kelvin Grove and Ashgrove. The district took its name from nearby Mount Coot-tha.

Mount Coot-tha was consistently the strongest-performing Queensland state seat for the Greens—22.2 per cent in 2015, 20.7 per cent in 2012 and 23.1 per cent in 2009.

Mount Coot-tha was abolished in a redistribution in 2016 which took effect at the 2017 state election. Most of its territory, including Mount Coot-tha, was merged with the bulk of Indooroopilly to form Maiwar, with other portions being transferred to the districts of Cooper and McConnel.

Electoral district of Toowong

Toowong was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Queensland from 1888 to 1992. It was centred on the Northern Brisbane suburb of Toowong.

Redistributions over the years extended Toowong toward Mt Coot-tha and Moggill, and it shrank back toward the populated areas when Mt Coot-tha was given its own district.Toowong was abolished in the 1991 redistribution, and its territories were absorbed into the districts of Mt Coot-tha and Indooroopilly.

Electoral results for the district of Mount Coot-tha

This is a list of electoral results for the electoral district of Mount Coot-tha in Queensland state elections.

Eurasian coot

The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), also known as the common coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. It is found in Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa.

Hawaiian coot

The Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai), also known as the ʻalae kea in Hawaiian, is a bird in the rail family, Rallidae, that is endemic to Hawaiʻi. In Hawaiian, ʻalae is a noun and means mud hen. Kea or its synonym keo is an adjective for white.

It is similar to the American coot at 33–40.6 cm (13.0–16.0 in) in length and weighing around 700 g (1.5 lb). It has black plumage and a prominent white frontal shield. Its natural habitats are freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, coastal saline lagoons, and water storage areas. The bird was federally listed in October 1970 as an endangered species and is considered both endemic and endangered by the state of Hawaii.

It is threatened by habitat loss and introduced predators such as the small Asian mongoose.

The Makalawena Marsh on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi has been listed as a National Natural Landmark to preserve one of its last nesting areas.

Mascarene coot

The Mascarene coot (Fulica newtonii) is an extinct species of coot that inhabited the Mascarene islands of Mauritius and Réunion. Long known from subfossil bones found in the Mare aux Songes swamp on the former island, but only assumed from descriptions to also have been present on the latter, remains have more recently been found on Réunion also. Early travellers' reports from Mauritius were, in reverse, generally assumed to refer to common moorhens, but it seems that this species only colonized the island after the extinction of the endemic coot.

Mount Coot-tha, Queensland

Mount Coot-Tha is a mountain and a suburb in the City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, there were no residents in the suburb.

Northern shoveler

The northern shoveler (; Spatula clypeata), known simply in Britain as the shoveler, is a common and widespread duck. It breeds in northern areas of Europe and Asia and across most of North America, wintering in southern Europe, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Central, and northern South America. It is a rare vagrant to Australia. In North America, it breeds along the southern edge of Hudson Bay and west of this body of water, and as far south as the Great Lakes west to Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon.The Northern shoveler is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. The conservation status of this bird is Least Concern.

Purple swamphen

The purple swamphen has been split into the following species:

Western swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, southwest Europe and northwest Africa

African swamphen, Porphyrio madagascariensis, sub-Saharan continental Africa and Madagascar

Grey-headed swamphen, Porphyrio poliocephalus, Middle East, through the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand

Black-backed swamphen, Porphyrio indicus, southeast Asia to Sulawesi

Philippine swamphen, Porphyrio pulverulentus, Philippine islands

Australasian swamphen, Porphyrio melanotus, Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania

Red-knobbed coot

The red-knobbed coot or crested coot, (Fulica cristata), is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae.

It is a resident breeder across much of Africa and in southernmost Spain on freshwater lakes and ponds. It builds a nest of dead reeds near the water's edge or more commonly afloat, laying about 8 eggs (or more in good conditions). However, its behaviour towards its own young is so aggressive that only a few are likely to survive to adulthood.

Simpson Falls

The Simpson Falls, a cascade waterfall on the West Ithaca Creek, is located within the Mount Coot-tha Forest, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Taylor Coot

The Taylor Coot is a two-seat homebuilt amphibious aircraft designed by Moulton Taylor, famous for his flying car designs. When a market for the Aerocar did not emerge, Taylor turned to more conventional designs. The Coot was nonetheless somewhat unusual for its low wing, a feature uncommon on most seaplanes and flying boats, which conventionally strive to keep their wings as far away from the water as possible. Instead, Taylor designed the Coot's wing roots to act as sponsons to stabilise the craft in the water. The arrangement allowed him to do away with the weight and drag penalties imposed by wingtip floats, and additionally gain ground effect benefits during takeoff. First flown in 1969, the Coot proved very popular with homebuilders, with an estimated 70 aircraft completed by 2007.

The wings and elevator surfaces of the Taylor Coot can be folded for transport and storage. With wings folded the aircraft is 8 feet (2.4 m) wide. Some builders have equipped their aircraft with auxiliary sponsons. It is equipped with tricycle landing gear: The nosewheel casters freely and steering on the ground is accomplished with differential braking of the main gear.

The plans and three books about the Coot are available through Richard Steeves of Madison, Wisconsin.


Toowong is an inner suburb of Brisbane, Australia, which is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) west of the Brisbane CBD. At the centre of Toowong is a commercial precinct including Toowong Village and several office buildings. The remainder of the suburb is predominantly residential with a mix of medium density dwellings and detached houses.


The vulva (plural vulvas or vulvae; derived from Latin for wrapper or covering) consists of the external female sex organs. The vulva includes the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vestibular bulbs, vulval vestibule, urinary meatus, the vaginal opening, and Bartholin's and Skene's vestibular glands. The urinary meatus is also included as it opens into the vulval vestibule. Other features of the vulva include the pudendal cleft, sebaceous glands, the urogenital triangle (anterior part of the perineum), and pubic hair. The vulva includes the entrance to the vagina, which leads to the uterus, and provides a double layer of protection for this by the folds of the outer and inner labia. Pelvic floor muscles support the structures of the vulva. Other muscles of the urogenital triangle also give support.

Blood supply to the vulva comes from the three pudendal arteries. The internal pudendal veins give drainage. Afferent lymph vessels carry lymph away from the vulva to the inguinal lymph nodes. The nerves that supply the vulva are the pudendal nerve, perineal nerve, ilioinguinal nerve and their branches. Blood and nerve supply to the vulva contribute to the stages of sexual arousal that are helpful in the reproduction process.

Following the development of the vulva, changes take place at birth, childhood, puberty, menopause and post-menopause. There is a great deal of variation in the appearance of the vulva particularly in relation to the labia minora. The vulva can be affected by many disorders which may often result in irritation. Vulvovaginal health measures can prevent many of these. Other disorders include a number of infections and cancers. There are several vulval restorative surgeries known as genitoplasties, and some of these are also used as cosmetic surgery procedures.

Different cultures have held different views of the vulva. Some ancient religions and societies have worshipped the vulva and revered the female as a goddess. Major traditions in Hinduism continue this. In western societies there has been a largely negative attitude typified by the medical terminology of pudenda membra, meaning parts to be ashamed of. There has been an artistic reaction to this in various attempts to bring about a more positive and natural outlook, such as work from British, American, and Japanese artists. While the vagina is a separate part of the anatomy, it has often been used synonymously with vulva.


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