Family: (Rallidae) Rails, Gallinules, and Coots
Preferred Habitat: Freshwater wetlands
Seasonal Occurrence: Common throughout the year.
Notes by Susan Billetdeaux: Robert McFarlane's photo points out 2 unusual characteristics of American Coots: their red eyes and fondness for plants. There are relatively few species who rely primarily on plant materials for food. American Coots may look like ducks when they're seen on water, but they have lobed rather than webbed feet. Males and females look alike. The young look truly bizarre, with bald bright red heads and scruffy rufous feathers on their necks. Immatures are dull gray rather than black. American Coots may be found on almost any body of water in our region. In winter they become particularly common, when their numbers are increased by migrating coots from the north.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology