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common name for a migratory marsh bird related to rails and gallinules and found in North America and Europe. The American coot (Fulica americana), or mud hen, is slate gray with a white bill, black head and neck, and white wing edgings and tail patch. It has lobed toes and is a skillful swimmer and diver but takes flight awkwardly, pattering the water to gain impetus. It eats aquatic plants and insects. Gregarious except during breeding, the male broods eggs and chicks at night. The European species inhabits the northern regions; there are seven species in South America alone. Coots are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Rallidae.



(Fulica atra), or European coot, a bird of the family Rallidae of the order Gruiformes. The body length measures about 40 cm. There is a patch of white skin (shield) on the forehead. The coloration is grayish black. The bird has broadly lobed toes, enabling it to swim and dive well. It is distributed in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and Australia. In the USSR it nests everywhere south of 60°-62° N lat. and winters on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea and in Middle Asia. It lives along the shores of lakes, ponds, and sea inlets that are rich in aquatic vegetation. The nest is built near the water in thickets of reeds and rushes. Six to nine eggs, sometimes as many as 15, are laid per clutch, and both the male and female incubate them for 21-24 days. The coot feeds on the seeds and green parts of aquatic plants, on insects, and on mollusks. In certain localities, especially the wintering si’es, coots are hunted commercially.


any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, esp F. atra of Europe and Asia, having lobed toes, dark plumage, and a white bill with a frontal shield: family Rallidae (rails, crakes, etc.)
References in periodicals archive ?
With coots, a host chick may die for each parasitic chick that lives.
These eggs included (1) the Least Bittern's own eggs (31 x 24 mm; Baicich and Harrison 1997) colored black with permanent-ink markers to make them nonmimetic, (2) real coot eggs (49 x 34 mm; Baicich and Harrison 1997), (3) wooden eggs colored black (34 x 22 mm), and (4) plaster eggs (21 x 16 mm) made to look like those of the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater; Table 1).
SILLY old coots are not so daft after all, scientists revealed yesterday.
Epidemiological studies have confirmed AVM lesions in coots exhibiting no apparent signs of abnormality.
We describe coot breeding adaptations in use of woody vegetation as nest sites (Sugden 1979), and provide information on phenology, clutch size, and breeding success.
Lyon and his energetic field assistants monitored coot nests in a marsh in British Columbia every day for four breeding seasons.
News last week that the city intended to shoot the domesticated ducks and geese at the park and golf course lakes - as it has the smaller wild coots annually since 1986 - prompted dozens of calls to city officials from outraged citizens.
Coots are known for their aggressive and feisty attitude in the breeding season.
Coots, who appeared on the National Geographic Channel's ''Snake Salvation,'' pastored the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church founded by his grandfather in Middlesboro.
For nearly 20 years, Pastor Coots led the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, founded by his grandfather, in Middlesboro, Ky.
Coots, 42, a Pentecostal pastor from Kentucky, was a star of National Geographic's "Snake Salvation" reality series where he handles snakes and preaches his belief that poisonous snakes will not harm believers as long as they are blessed by God.