Kingdom Animalia
Click to hear the call  Click to watch the video
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae
Genus Fulica
Species atra
Classification Linnaeus, 1758
Common name common coot
Size 36 - 39 centimeters
Wing Span 70 - 80 centimeters
Male weight 650 - 900 grams
Female weight 575 - 800 grams

Geographic Range it is found in Europe, with the exception of northern regions, in Australia, northwestern Africa, Asia.
Physical Characteristics it is bigger than common moorhens, it has a rounded body, its plumage is completely black, and only its sharpened beak and its frontal plate are white. Its eyes are brown in the young individuals, red in the adults, secondary flight feathers are white bordered, and its paws are greenish. It has no palmate paws as the ducks have, but it has lobed fingers that allow it both to swim and to walk easily on the ground. The male and the female look a lot like each other. During the molt it loses flight feathers and become unable to fly.
Call it has a wide repertoire.
Behaviour in order to look for food, it plunges in the water with a little dive and comes out quickly. It swims slowly. It defends vigorously its territory hurling itself upon intruders.
Habitat it can be found in ponds, in lakes, and in shallow water bays, with thick vegetation, in soft or brackish water spaces. In winter it moves towards bigger bodies of water and towards the sea too.
Behaviour in order to fly up it is forced to "run" on the water surface.
Food habits the common coot is omnivorous, event if its diet is mainly vegetarian. It plunges up to 2 metres in depth to look for food and it can sometimes even reach 4- 5 metres in depth.
Migration the populations of the North and of the East are migratory, the others are sedentary or partially migratory.
Nidification the nest is built both by the male and the female with vegetation material. Inside it is covered with grass, and it is built on the emergent vegetation, it is floating on the water or built in quite a high place. That is why it is often well visible. The female lays from 5 to 9 bright white, dark spotted eggs at the end of April or at the beginning of May and broods them for three weeks. The eggs open in different days: usually the first clutch is born at the end of April, the last one comes to light at end of July. The chicks stay in the nest for a few days, then responsabilities are shared by both parents: the female stays in the nest and looks after the chicks, while the male feeds them. The chicks begin to feed by themselves at the age of four weeks and begin to fly after a month. In Italy it is regularly migratory and wintering. It reproduces in wet areas and it is occasionally resident.
Status in the lagoon it can be found in the province of Venice in the deserted caves, in soft or brackish waters, characterized by medium depth or low depth bottoms and with a lot of vegetation. In the lagoon it is found in the area of the fish farms (Cavallino, Dogà, Averto, Figheri).

References Museo Zoologico "La Specola" di Firenze
I censimenti degli uccelli svernanti in Provincia di Venezia - a cura di M. Bon e G. Cherubini - Provincia di Venezia, Assessorato Caccia e Pesca.
web References http://www.specolalive.it
Source of the photo http://www.md.ucl.ac.be/
Source of the call http://www.oiseaux.net/
Source of the video http://www.hbw.com/ibc/

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