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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 ?
I agreed to this absurd task, cut work early and scouted out a coot mecca on Farmington Bay.
On the visit to the pond the coots were edgy as usual.
Coots had handled snakes many years and had been bitten several times, always relying on prayer, and not medical help, to heal him.
Pastor Coots was a lovely, kind man who was good to our crew during the shooting," said David Lyle, CEO of National Geographic Channels.
Coots had to constantly battle the law, and in February 2013 he was given one year of probation for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes, according to (http://channel.
He wanted to know it 1 had any documentation and I told him no," Coots remarked.
The boards of directors of both Halliburton and Boots & Coots have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the summer of 2010, subject to regulatory approvals, approval by Boots & Coots' stockholders and other conditions.
The second largest oilfield services company will create a new product service line combining its existing coiled tubing and hydraulic workover operations with Boots & Coots intervention services and its pressure control business.
The new work suggests that coots can develop the ability to recognize their chicks if a reliable method presents itself.
Nests of Least Bitterns, American Coots, Pied-billed Grebes (Podilymbus podiceps), and passerines such as Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus), Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus), Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), and Marsh Wrens (Cistothorus palustris) were monitored every 1-3 days.
The female coots were good at recognising and rejecting eggs that were not theirs.
With their black plumage, white beaks and habit of nodding their heads when swimming, coots are easily recognised among other water birds.