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Scientific name : Fulica atra
Family : Rallidae
L de 36 à 39 cm, E de 70 à 80 cm
Larger than the waterfowl, the coot is a round-shaped bird, with black plumage. The Coot's fingers are not webbed, but with lobes, most specimens are almost completely black in plumage. It has a white beak surmounted by a frontal plate (or escutcheon) also white, round and red eyes and secondaries edged with white.
This bird lives and nests in the banks of slow-flowing streams and in almost all types of wetlands. It is occasionally found on brackish or salty water. The two most important wintering sites in France remain the Camargue and Lake Bourget near Aix les Bains. They are gregarious on the bodies of water in winter. Migratory partial, flighty looking, they nest in the reed beds and palustral plants. It defends its territory and hunts intruders.
The Eurasian coot has a laborious appearance of flight: it runs by stamping its feet on the water before its flight.
Its omnivorous diet consists of plants and small animals acqutique. It often and skillfully plunges in search of food up to 2 or even 4 to 5 meters deep and swims slowly, with a characteristic nod.
The Eurasian coot usually builds a nest of branches and plant material, placed on a stump or plants on the surface of the water, often shallow and clearly visible. The nest can be strengthened and elevated if the water does not rise too quickly. The female lays 5 to 10 off-white eggs slightly speckled. Incubation begins before the litter is complete and lasts just over 21 days. The eggs hatch over several days. Most of the time, the first litters are laid in late April. Young people feed alone at 4 weeks of age. They have a head and a red beak at birth.
According to the Handbook of Birds of the World, it is not globally threatened. The nominal race has increased its territory in Europe since the end of the 19th century.