Small-sized coot duck, rel Riding to the shepherd’s family, it was widely distributed in the Eurasian, North African and Australian territories. It is easily recognizable in the photo among other waterfowl, due to its unique appearance.
- Distinctive external features
- Geography of residence
- Features of lifestyle and behavior
- Mating season and nesting
Distinctive external features
The black duck with a white beak in the photo immediately stands out with its white frontal spot. In this case, the plaque among males is most pronounced.In the southwestern side of Spain and in Morocco it is easy to see with a lively coot species is crested, which differs from the classical one by the two red leathery balls on a snow-white frontal spot.
The body length of a coot duck reaches 40 cm (usually 36-38 cm), its wingspan varies from 20 to 24 cm. Cows weigh an average of 0.5-1.0 kg.
One of the largest representatives of the family is a black giant duck, which grows to 60 cm in length and weighs from 2 to 3 kg.
The body of the bird is slightly flattened from the sides. The feathers on the head, in the neck and in the upper part of the body are dark gray, close to black, with a dull plumage, gray cast on the spine. The plumage of the chest and around the abdomen is slightly lighter.
A sharp beak on a common black background is pronounced in its white color, although it is small in size. Stand out among birds and paws: they are colored in yellow or orange.
Geography of residence
The largest variety of species can be seen in South America, where 8 of 11 existing species. Many of them settled in the highlands on the Andean lakes at an altitude of 3 to 6.5 thousand meters above sea level. On the territory of Russia, only one species of coot has taken root: a black ordinary duck with a white beak, or a flat. In addition to this species, there are also:
The birds living in the northern hemisphere belong to migratory ones and overcome quite large distances for them during the migration season. Coots move to wintering places mainly during the night.
The geographical area is limited to the Atlantic and the Pacific coast. Birds are found on New Zealand territory. In the European part, they can be seen almost everywhere, with the exception of only the Scandinavian regions. Single nesting was recorded in the area of Svalbard and the Faroe Islands.
The main places for coots to live are taiga, steppe ponds and forest-steppe, where there are water spaces with fresh or slightly salted water.For wintering, birds choose sea bays and large lakes.
Features of lifestyle and behavior
Unlike other representatives of the shepherd’s family, the coot spends most of its life on the water surface. The swimming blades located on the side of the toes help the birds move through the water. The specific structure of the pelvic bone serves coots for diving, and strong legs are naturally adapted for movement on viscous soils.
Coots differ from other waterfowl in their openness: a longer period of time the duck is in open water. In this way, they are similar to related moorhen.
While protecting their nests, coots are particularly aggressive. Such behavior is also characteristic of them during a conflict. Birds take specific threatening poses and can engage in fights with each other.
In females and male coots, the combination range of the sounds emitted differs markedly. If the female screams loudly, then the scream of the male is muffled, hissing intonations prevail in him. Unlike many birds, coots do not use sound signals during the breeding season.
The main food for coots is plant food, among which there are plant shoots and fruits. Less commonly, birds prey on a variety of insects, crustaceans, and mollusks living on water.Sometimes they feast on small fish, and also break other people’s bird eggs. However, the proportion of animal food in the total diet of coots does not exceed 10%.
Coots feed preferably in schools, settling in shallow water.
Among aquatic plants, most often coots eat duckweed, pestle, pinnatifolia, char algae. Sometimes they take away duck and swan prey.
Coots can get food for themselves both on the shore and in the water column. In shallow water or in deep sections of the river channel (reaches), they collect food on the water surface or plunge into the water column with their head and beak and partially torso, diving into the river depth from a meter and a half.
Marriage period and nesting
The mating season falls on the time of returning to the native land, when most of the water bodies were freed from ice. Courts of males are particularly active: birds vigorously beat their wings, soaring into the air or running on the surface of the water. At the same time, coots behave aggressively towards neighbors, periodically entering into conflict situations.
Coots are monogamous birds: one male has only one female for the entire period of life.
During the nesting season, coots begin to avoid fast rivers and open water, moving into shallow water conditions in reeds, reeds or sedges.The coot nest can rest on the bottom, but in most cases it is buoyant. It is built from last year’s grass vegetation and looks like a loose pile of garbage. The distance between neighboring nests reaches half a meter, and when strangers approach, the bird begins to aggressively guard its home.
Huge nests are obtained from giant and horned coots. The sizes of their brood houses can reach up to 4 m in diameter and rise up to 0.6 m high. For horned coots, it is preferable to settle in nests on stones, for which it with its beak rolls stones to the nesting site, the total weight of which can ultimately be up to 1.5 tonnes.
For one nesting period, the coot lays 2, sometimes 3 eggs, each of which numbers from 6 to 12-16 eggs with sand-colored shells and specks. With each subsequent egg-laying, the number of eggs decreases.
Black-covered fluffy chicks are already able to follow their parents about a day later, but begin to feed themselves only after a week or two. The grown young generation in 60-80 days from the moment it was born begins to stray into small flocks that remain until the fall flight.