Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Fulica
Fulica americana

Introduction: The American Coot is the most abundant of 5 Rallidae species found in Washington (Paulson, D., 2019). It is a fairly easily identifiable bird due to its simple black and grey plumage and distinctive, chicken-like beak shape. The beak extends onto a hard red helmet on the forehead that may protect it during foraging and from other coots. It has notably large lobed feet used for paddling and, during breeding season, fighting.  There is slight size sexual dimorphism as the females are slightly smaller, but the two sexes’ plumage is largely indistinguishable. Female coots weigh 427-628 grams, while the larger males average at 576-848 grams. Their wingspan is 58-71 cm (Greenfield, T., & Hall, P., 2013).

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