American Coot

Fulica americana

This dark grey, duck-like bird is often seen floating on open water. Though the American Coot mingles with ducks—and may filch the pond veggies they’ve pulled up—a coot isn’t a duck. From afar, you can tell it’s a coot by the way it pumps its head back and forth as it paddles. The coot is a closer relative of the endangered Ridgway’s Rail that stalks the tall marsh grasses.

Fun Fact:
Young coots sport a red and orange ring around their heads

What’s for Lunch:
Snails, small fish, pond greens, grass

Where’s Home:
Throughout the lagoon; nests in the freshwater marsh, year-round