• Common Coot


Scientific name
Fulica atra (Linnaeus, 1758)

Red Data Book Status
Least Concearn


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  • Identification

The plumage of the coot is almost entirely greyish with the head black. The beak is white and there is a prominent white frontal plate. The young birds are covered in black and have red and blue markings on the head. 

  • Voice

Coots have a great variety of vocalizations such as “Kyorrr” and a fast “Kreck-kreck-kreck”

  • Ecology

The nest is built with a mound of dead reeds where they lay a clutch between six and nine eggs. The chicks leave the nest some days after hatching, reaching their independence around eight weeks. The Coot is an omnivore, and their diet includes a large variety off food such as algae, eggs of other water birds, seeds and fruit.

  • Distribution

In the Madeira archipelago it’s only found on the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. Several breeding places have been found in both of the islands. Itspreferentialhabitatispondsand lakeswith dense vegetationon the shores, but it may occasionally occur at the river mouth of some rivers.


Coots are extremely good divers, diving deeper than 7 m and can remain underwater for up to 15 seconds.


  • Common Coot Sightings


November 2011, Lugar de Baixo - Madeira Island © Roberto Moritz


 October 2013 - Tanque, Porto Santo Island © Birds & Company

  • Literature

[1] Equipa Atlas 2009. Atlas das Aves Nidificantes do Arquipélago da Madeira, url: http://www.atlasdasaves.netmadeira.com/

[2] Mullarney, Killian; Svensson, Lars; Zetterstrom, Dan; Grant, Peter (1999). Collins Bird Guide. London: Collins. 

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