Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot swimming in a lagoon

What does it look like? Often referred to as the Bald Coot, the Eurasian Coot is an attractive bird.  The name Bald Coot stems from the Saxon word bald, meaning white, and refers to its snowy white bill.  The remainder of the bird is black, except for its bright red eye.

Where does it live? The Coot is found throughout Australia. It also self-transported itself to New Zealand, where it has quickly become established.

What are its habitats and habits? It is common in suitably vegetated lagoons and swamps, where it feeds almost entirely on vegetable matter, with a few insects, worms and fish taken to supplement its diet.  The Coot is an aggressive bird, and, because of this, it is found in healthy numbers wherever it found.  During breeding pairs establish and maintain territories with vigour, announcing themselves with a loud “kowk”, often accompanied by assorted screeches.

Interesting fact: Their aggression is also extended towards other species and ducks nests are often used as roosting sites, with the unfortunate owner’s eggs pushed off into the water.

Scientific name: Fulica atra

Size: 32 to 39 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store