Fulica atra

Description

The Eurasian Coot is recognised by its snowy white bill and forehead shield. The remainder of the bird is dark sooty grey, except for its bright red eye. Immature birds are generally paler than adults with a white wash on the throat.

Distribution

The Eurasian Coot ranges from Eurasia to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Eurasian Coot is about 9 years.

Size

The size of the Eurasian Coot is 30 - 39 centimetres in length.

Diet

Food is mainly obtained during underwater dives, lasting up to 15 seconds and ranging down to 7 metres in depth. They also graze on the land and on the surface of the water. In Australia, Eurasian Coots feed almost entirely on vegetable matter, supplemented with only a few insects, worms and fish.

Habitat

In Australia the Eurasian Coot is common in vegetated lagoons and swamps.

Breeding

Breeding season is during August - February however the Eurasian Coot can breed all year round if conditions are favourable. During the breeding season pairs establish and maintain territories with aggression. The nest is often a floating raft of vegetation or is built on logs or tree stumps that are surrounded by water. The female will produce approximately 15 eggs with both sexes sharing the incubation and care of the young.