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7

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

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

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.

Nest

"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]

Eggs

"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]

Behaviour

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]

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]

Call/s

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
(NW NSW)
? MD
eurcoot_20140716_3.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
? MD
eurcoot_20140716.mp3 australis
(NW NSW)
? (Immature) MD

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