Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Day 87 - Cool Coots

Hey everyone,

Coot (Fulica atra)
It's Day 87 and I thought I'd cover another bird that I see pretty much everywhere I go. They're great to watch as they pick through the plants or dive in the lakes. They're not as colourful as some birds but really full of character, I'm talking of course about Coots.

So I did my research and here's some of what I found out:

  • They are widespread across the UK on freshwater lakes, gravel pits etc. but are sometimes seen offshore if the lakes are frozen.
    Coot creating barely any ripples
  • They are a Green status bird, their numbers are on the increase. There are about 30,000 breeding pairs that are joined by others from places like Scandinavia in the winter and the numbers can be as many as 190,000.
  • They are omnivores, they eat mainly plants they will also eat snails and insect larvae.
  • They can dive up to 2 metres looking for food.
  • Their mood can be quite changeable. Sometimes they are very social and will feed together in groups. At other times like in the breeding season they can be quite aggressive to other birds and other coots. They might even kill some of their own young if there are too many to feed successfully.
  • They are closely related to Moorhens and they can live alongside them happily as they don't compete for food.
  • They are around 37cm long with a wingspan of 75cm and weigh 800g.
    Coot feet
  • Typically they live for 5 years but the oldest one is recorded as being 15 years 3 months!
  • There are lots of names for a group of coots it seems, including a cover, raft or covert but my favourite is a codgery of coots.
  • When they want to fly they run along the water until they take off, I wonder if their funny feet help them with this?

Well I hope that was all interesting but if you want to find out more try these sites:

Hope you enjoyed.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent choice today Zach - best bird in the book! (With the possible exception of Mediterranean Gulls)

    Look out for colour ringed ones. KB has had a scheme going all around the country so they could turn up anywhere. Report them here http://blx1.bto.org/euring/lang/pages/rings.jsp?country=EN put it in your favourites