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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Coot

Hebrides bird sightings - Coot



(Cooit, Snyth, Snysin)

Gallinula chloropus

Gaelic: Lach-bhlàir

Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
Benbecula - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
18th February, 2007

  • Coot
  • AKA: Eurasian Coot, Snysin, Bald Coot
  • Fulica atra
  • UK Resident Breeder/ Winter visitor
  • UK 22,600- 28,000 pairs (summer), 180,000 (winter) RSPB
  • Distribution: Europe, Asia, Australia. Resident in mild areas (inc UK)
  • Breeds: Nest a pile of dead reeds at water's edge. Open water areas with nearby vegetation. Mostly freshwater lakes, marsh, slow rivers, gravel pits, reservoirs. Fiercely defends territory - charges intruders.
  • Winters in similar areas. Often forms large flocks. Sometimes when freshwater frozen is seen in harbours or offshore
  • Diet: Omnivorous: mostly plants, snails, insects, some eggs,
  • Plump medium-sized waterfowl (rail family). Flat-backed. Mostly sooty-grey. Black head with white frontal plate & white bill. Short tail. Lobed toes (flaps of skin rather than webbed). Strong legs, fast runners! Runs splashing across water as part of take-off. Short, rounded wings (weak fliers. The migratory species do so at night). Prefers open water (other rails hide). Head nods when swimming.
  • Max recorded age 20yr 7mth, typical lifespan 5yrs
  • Listen to a coot (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: moorhen

Two or more coots are called a covert or cover of coot.

The white frontal plate above the bill is fleshy and has no feathers, and is where the phrase "bald as a coot" comes from.


Debbie's online photo album

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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