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Eurasian Coot

(Fulica atra)
Alternative name: "Toorie"
Aboriginal name: "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


Click here for sighting information


Race "australis"

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

This male Eurasian Coot is puffing up its wings and plumage to impress the competition by making itself appear to be bigger
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

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

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]

Eurasian Coot seen when just finished preening
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Dorsal view of an Eurasian Coot, screaming an alarm
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2010]

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

Eurasian Coots making a splash
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, January 2009]

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

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

Juvenile Eurasian Coot; note the greyish throat, by which the bird can be identified
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

In Narrabri by about November the Eurasian Coot chicks start moving around without adult supervision; here one close to an Australasian Grebe
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Three Eurasian Coot chicks preening
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Male(?) Eurasian Coot with chicks out on the water; two are being fed
[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.


"bungobittah", "malunna" = 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.

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

Eurasian Coot nest with four chicks

Here two youngsters that have probably temporarily returned to their nest
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]


"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = 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 on its nest with one egg insdie (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[East Perth, WA, December 2014]


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

Eurasian Coot going for a dive
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2010]

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

Female Eurasian Coot taking a bath
[Warialda, NSW, April 2014]

Eurasian Coots can sometimes be found in large congregations
[Little Llangothlin NR, NSW, August 2015]

Food, Diet

To the best of our knowledge Eurasian Coots feed on aquatic plants, but also on small animals.

Male Eurasian Coot feeding on algae
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

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]


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

eurcoot_20140716_2.mp3 australis
? MD
eurcoot_20140716_3.mp3 australis
? MD
eurcoot_20140716.mp3 australis
? (Immature) MD

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.