Best places to see in Tennessee: American Coots are most abundant between October and April on most large lakes, and reservoirs across the state where there is aquatic vegetation. Habitat: Open bodies of water including lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. The American coot is a highly gregarious species, particularly in the winter, when its flocks can number in the thousands. American coots are diurnal social birds that live in flocks, and are the only rail family members to live in groups. Nest: Both adults build the nest, which is a partly floating platform anchored to grass in water from 2 to 6 feet deep. 2002. An American coot clutch usually contains 8-12 eggs. Coots weave vegetation into shallow nests that float on water, attached to upright plant stalks. These birds can make a wide range of noises, from clucking to grunting, to communicate with each other and also to threaten predators. Nestling American coots have blackish down feathers above and orange hairlike feathers around the neck. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Nicholson, C. P. 1997. When swimming on the water surface, American coots exhibit a variety of interesting collective formations, including single-file lines, high density synchronized swimming and rotational dynamics, broad arcing formations, and sequential take-off dynamics. An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Tennessee. Sibley, D. A. Status in Tennessee: The American Coot is a common migrant and winter resident across the state, and a rare summer resident. Several similar platforms may be built, only one or two used for nesting. Similar species: The common gallinule (until recently considered the common moorhen) is a rare migrant and locally rare summer resident usually in big river floodplains. Nesting and reproduction: American Coots will build several "dummy" nests that are used during courtship and for brooding young. In winter, it is found in open water from the northern United States southward. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN. Coots occur in wetlands, preferring marshes dominated by robust emergent vegetation interspersed with water. It is thought that this may give them better 3 dimensional vision. Brisbin, I. L., Jr., H. D. Pratt, and T. B. Mobray. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN. Birds are warm-blooded, and most species can fly. Length: 16 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail). It is considered a game species in the state, but is likely seldom taken by hunters. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Coots frequently bob their heads when swimming or walking. A. Find local MDC conservation agents, consultants, education specialists, and regional offices. About 350 species of birds are likely to be seen in Missouri, though nearly 400 have been recorded within our borders. Don’t underestimate the impact of grazers. Many communicate with songs and calls. Though present year round, most individuals are found in the state from early September through early May. 697 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). Adults have a black head and neck, an ivory-white bill with a black ring near the end, and yellowish green legs with lobed feet. However, some birds remain year-round in parts of the U.S. Courtship displays include increased calling and a bowing and nibbling ritual, in which one coot remains still while the other preens its feathers. Call 1-800-392-1111 to report poaching and arson, Rallidae (rails, gallinules, coots) in the order Gruiformes. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. 2000. American coots weave vegetation into shallow nests that float on water, attached to upright plant stalks. American coots are sometimes hunted for sport, but they are usually not considered good eating. Rare summer resident in marshes with nesting numbers fluctuating greatly between high- and low-precipitation years. Look for American coots on lakes, marshes, ponds, rivers, and swamps. American coots can live for more than 20 years. We protect and manage the fish, forest, and wildlife of the state. The American coot has a chickenlike walk and toes with distinctly scalloped lobes. They require stable water levels during nesting season. Rare winter resident, with most birds reported in southern Missouri. Most people know a bird when they see one — it has feathers, wings, and a bill. The adult resembles a coot but has a red, yellow-tipped bill and a red facial shield. American coots are omnivorous, feeding on a large variety of aquatic and terrestrial vegetation and foraging for a variety of invertebrates and other small animals. The young are covered with down and are able to leave the nest within hours of hatching. Though present year round, most individuals are found in the state from early September through early May. A. Knopf, New York, NY. Univ. 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