Coot, Meerkoet, Bläßhuhn, Galeirão-comum, Focha-Común

Spotted in the Alentejo region of Portugal.                                                Coot sound    

Coots are medium-sized water birds that are members of the rail family Rallidae. They constitute the genus Fulica. Coots have predominantly black plumage, and unlike many rails, they are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. They are close relatives of the moorhen.

Coot Birding Portugal

More photos at the bottom of this page:

The greatest species variety occurs in South America, and the genus likely originated there. They are common in Europe and North America.

They have prominent frontal shields or other decoration on the forehead, and coloured bills, and many, but not all, have white on the under tail. Like other rails, they have lobed toes. The featherless shield gave rise to the expression “as bald as a coot,” which the Oxford English Dictionary cites in use as early as 1430. A group of coots may be referred to as a covert or cover.

They tend to have short, rounded wings and are weak fliers, though northern species nevertheless can cover long distances—the American Coot has reached Britain and Ireland on rare occasions. Coot species that migrate do so at night. Coots can walk and run vigorously on strong legs, and have long toes that are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces.

These birds are omnivorous, eating mainly plant material, but also small animals and eggs. They are aggressively territorial during the breeding season, but are otherwise often found in sizeable flocks on the shallow vegetated lakes they prefer.

At least some Coots have difficulty feeding a large family of fledglings on the tiny shrimp and insects that they collect. So after about three days they start attacking their own chicks when they beg for food. After a short while, these attacks concentrate on the weaker chicks, who eventually give up begging and die. The coot may eventually raise only two or three out of nine fledglings.

Coot Birding Portugal
Coot Birding Portugal

Other synonyms:

Asturian: Fulcre, Pita Real
Breton: Ar jualenn vailh, Duanenn
Catalan: Fotja, Fotja vulgar, Polla d’aigua
Catalan (Balears): Fotja
Valencian: Polla d’aigua
Czech: Lyska cerná, lyska èerná
Welsh: Corshwyad ddu, Cwtaiar, Cwtair, Cwtiar, Dobi benwen, Iâr ddwr foel, Iâr y gors
Danish: Blishøne
German: Blaesshuhn, Bläßhuhn, Blesshuhn, Blessralle
English: Black Coot, Common Coot, Coot, Eurasian Coot, European Coot
Esperanto: nigra fuliko
Spanish: Focha, Focha Comun, Focha Común
Estonian: Lauk
Basque: Fotja vulgar, Kopetazuri, kopetazuri arrunt, Kopetazuri arrunta
Finnish: Nokikana
Faroese: Sjógvhøna
French: Foulque macroule, Foulque noire, Judelle
Frisian: Markol, Merkel, Merkol
Irish: Cearc Cheannann, coileach ceannann
Gaelic: Lach a’ Bhlàir, Lacha-Bhlàr
Galician: Fotja vulgar, Galiñola negra
Manx: Kiark ushtey
Croatian: Crna liska, Liska
Hungarian: Szárcsa
Indonesian: Mandar Hitam
Icelandic: Bleshæna
Italian: Folaga, Folaga comune
Japanese: O-ban, Oh-ban, ooban, Oo-ban
Cornish: Dowryar
Latin: Fulica atra
Lithuanian: Cinorius, Laukys, Vaštaka
Latvian: K?lainis, Laucis, Papis, Pops
Malay: Pangling Hitam
Dutch: Meerkoet
Norwegian: Blisshøne, Sothøne, Vandhøne, Vannhøne
Portuguese: Frango-d’agua-comum, galeirão, Galeirão-comum
Portuguese (Brazil): Frango-d’agua-comum
Romansh: Fulca
Russian: Lysukha
Sardinian: Pùliga
Scots: Lach a bhlair, Lacha-bhlar
Northern Sami: Cearc cheannann, Giehpavuonccis
Slovenian: crna liska, liska
Albanian: Bajza
Serbian: liska
Swedish: Sothöna
Turkish: Sakarmeke


Travel Birdwatching Holiday Alentejo, Vacation Portugal for birders to see birds on your trip. Guided Birdwatching Tours & Trips

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