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7

Eurasian Coot

(Fulica atra)
Alternate name(s): Race "atra": "Common Coot";
race "australis": "Australian Coot", "Toorie"
Aboriginal name(s): "galundirgin" [eastern bundjalung]; "kipul" [tjapwurrung];
"kidjibroon", "moolyawindo" (WA); "kirli"

Size: 35-38 cm
Weight: 585-1100 g

Similar
species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Eurasian Coot at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "australis"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Eurasian Coot; the broad facial shield identifies this bird as a male
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, May 2013]

Near-frontal view of a male Eurasian Coot puffing up its plumage to impress the competition
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a male Eurasian Coot on a lake
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, May 2013]

Lateral view of a male(?) Eurasian Coot that just finished preening
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Dorsal view of a male(?)Eurasian Coot, screaming an alarm
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2010]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Eurasian Coot (note the narrow facial shield), with in the background a Dusky Moorhen feeding on parts of underwater plants (photo courtesy of J. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2014]

Near-lateral view of a female Eurasian Coot, with a close-up on its feet with partially webbed toes
(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Raymond Island, Paynesville, VIC, April 2018]

Sex unknown

Flock of Eurasian coots in typical habitat
[Wetlands of Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon, July 2009; see credits page for details]

Lateral view of Eurasian Coots making a splash during take-off
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, January 2009]

Direct size comparison between a Dusky Moorhen, left, and a Eurasian Coot, right (photo courtesy of J. Ross-Taylor)
[Gold Coast, QLD, June 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Eurasian Coot close to an Australasian Grebe
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Lateral view of three juvenile Eurasian Coots, one of which is preening
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Close-up frontal view of a Eurasian Coot chick on lily pads
[Mudgee, NSW, December 2015]

Close-up near-frontal view of a Eurasian Coot chick (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up lateral view of a Eurasian Coot chick (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up near-dorsal view of a Eurasian Coot chick (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up dorsal view of a Eurasian Coot chick (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up view of 5 of a clutch of 6 Eurasian Coot chicks (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up view of an adult Eurasian Coot feeding 2 chicks (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up view of an adult Eurasian Coot feeding 2 chicks (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Overview of an adult Eurasian Coot feeding with 3 of its chicks (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Frontal view of a male(?) Eurasian Coot with chicks out on the water; two are begging to be fed
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

This hapless Eurasian Coot probably fell prey to a raptor
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Mar Eggs: 5 - 7 Incubation period: 22 - 26 days Fledging age: 28 - 42 days

Given the right conditions (and depending on geographical latitude), Eurasian Coots can breed any time of the year.

Eurasian Coots caught in the act...
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Nest

"bungobittah", "lar", "malunna", "jindi" [bundjalung] = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Reeds Height above ground: N/A

The nest can be floating on water, affixed to a plant, or sit on top of a low, flat object, such as e.g. an old reed stump.

Close-up frontal view of a Eurasian Coot on its nest, with two hatchlings visible (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, November 2022]

Close-up frontal view of a Eurasian Coot on its nest, with an egg and two hatchlings visible (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, November 2022]

Eurasian Coot sitting on its nest (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Stanthorpe, QLD, February 2021]

Eurasian Coot nest on a suburban lake (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[East Perth, WA, December 2014]

Eurasian Coot nest in reeds around a lake (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Monger, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up lateral view of a Eurasian Coot on its well-hidden nest (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Since Eurasian Coot chicks are precocial, these two youngsters have probably only temporarily returned to their nest
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "mirk", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena", "pum-pum" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 52 x 35 mm Colour: Light-brown, with sparse mid-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Eurasian Coot nest with a clutch of six, one of which has just hatched (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close-up view of a Eurasian Coot chick which has just hatched (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Close look at 6 eggs inside a Eurasian Coot nest (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Eurasian Coot turning its eggs (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, October 2022]

Eurasian Coot nest with 7 eggs inside (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Near Baradine, NSW, 1980ies]

Close look at 7 eggs inside a Eurasian Coot nest (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Near Baradine, NSW, 1980ies]

Eurasian Coot on its nest with one egg inside (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[East Perth, WA, December 2014]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/flock

As opposed to most Moorhens or Swamphens, which are primarily waders, the Eurasian Coot will also dive for food in shallow water.

It never fails to amaze us that even aquatic birds, that spend most of their lives on water, need to bathe...

Near-frontal view of a female Eurasian Coot taking a bath
[Warialda, NSW, April 2014]

Especially outside the breeding season Eurasian Coots tend to form large flocks.

Eurasian Coots can sometimes be found in large congregations; this is one of three flocks seen on a reservoir at the same time
[Gordonbrook Dam, near Kingaroy, QLD, June 2017]

Eurasian Coots can sometimes be found in large congregations
[Wooroolin Wetlands, Wooroolin, QLD, June 2017]

Juvenile Eurasian Coots were seen by us to care for each other by allopreening.

Juvenile Eurasian Coots preening one another (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, November 2022]

Juvenile Eurasian Coots preening one another (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, November 2022]

Food, Diet

To the best of our knowledge Eurasian Coots feed on aquatic plants and on small animals.

Lateral view of a male Eurasian Coot feeding on algae
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a Eurasian Coot with a piece of aquatic plant it has just brought up from under the water surface
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, May 2013]

Juvenile Eurasian Coot feeding on parts of an aquatic plant (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, November 2022]

Why don't you let me have some of that?!
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, March 2023]

Eurasian Coot feeding its hatchlings parts of an aquatic plant (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Herdsman, Perth, WA, November 2022]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

eurcoot_dw_20190415.m4a atra
(Poland)
Contact calls? © DW
eurcoot_jp_20190413.m4a atra
(Portugal)
Contact calls? © JP
eurcoot_jp_20200117.m4a atra
(Portugal)
? © JP
 
eurcoot_20200316_5.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
Contact calls(?) © MD
eurcoot_20220504.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
Contact calls? (Q&A) © MD
eurcoot_20161208.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
Alarm call © MD
eurcoot_20151203.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls © MD
eurcoot_20160725_2.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
Warning calls(?) © MD
eurcoot_20200316.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
Warning calls(?) © MD
eurcoot_20200316_4.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
Mating calls(?) © MD
eurcoot_20161208_2.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
Upset/fighting(?) © MD
eurcoot_20161104.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls (chick) © MD
eurcoot_20230318.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
Various (Adult + 2 juveniles) © MD
eurcoot_20140716.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
? (Immature) © MD
eurcoot_20230318_2.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
? (2 juveniles) © MD
eurcoot_20200316_2.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
? © MD
eurcoot_20200316_3.m4a australis
(NW NSW)
? © MD

More Eurasian Coot sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.