Coot Fulica atra   [Linnaeus, 1758]

Jump to: Other Names Trends & Distribution Breeding & Survival Biometrics Books & Links

For details point at or click the button; for sources point at the button

Date created: 23-January-2017

Order: Gruiformes Family: Rallidae
BTO Codes: CO, COOT. EURING No: 4290
Number in Britain: 30 thousand Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Near Threatened
Global: Least Concern (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor
Subspecies: atra recorded in Britain (of 3 subsp. in the world)
Length: 37 cm Wingspan: 75 cm Weight: M/F: 800 g    
Scientific name from: L.: fulica=the coot and L.: ater=black (esp. matte black)
World Distribution: Eurasia, Australia
Habitat: Lakes, marsh, rivers, seacoast
Diet: Omnivorous, but mostly aquatic plants
TitBit: Coots are aggressive birds, both to other species and their own kind; they have even been known to kill their own young, usually the youngest of the brood if they have too many to feed successfully.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 30 thousand Pairs in 2009
    Winter: 180 thousand individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Ipswichian (last) interglacial, c. 125,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: GREEN
   Previous Assessments: 2009-2014 GREEN     2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Lakes
    Also common in: Ponds
    And found in: Along Rivers
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 850 thousand to 1.5 million pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(II,III), WBD(II*,III*), Bonn(II*), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 53 x 36 mm Egg Weight: 36.5 g (of which 9 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 643
Clutch Size: 5 - 7 eggs
Incubation: 21- 24 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 55 - 60days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1(2)
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.701 ± 0.026       
Juvenile Survival: 0.380 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 2 years Typical Lifespan: 5 years
Maximum Age from Ringing: 15 years 3 months 13 days (set in 1978)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: G
Wing Length Sexually dimorphic (male much larger than female)
Male: 223.8 ± 7.0 211 - 235 mm, N =385
Female: 206.2 ± 5.8 196 - 214 mm, N =242
Weight Sexually dimorphic (male much larger than female)
Male: 971.3 ± 164.1 700.0 - 1250 g , N =178
Female: 753.5 ± 135.1 570.0 - 990.0 g , N =77
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Common Coot
Gaelic: Lach-bhlàir Welsh: Cwtiar
Danish: Blishøne Dutch: Meerkoet
Finnish: Nokikana French: Foulque macroule
German: Bläßhuhn Hungarian: Szárcsa
Icelandic: Bleshæna Irish: Cearc Cheannann
Italian: Folaga Norwegian: Sothøne
Polish: Lyska zwyczajna Portuguese: Galeirão-comum
Spanish: Focha común Swedish: Sothöna
Local Names: Snysin
Collective Noun:Covert

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Taylor, B. & van Perlo, B. 1998 Rails Pica Press, Sussex [598.554 TAY]
Links from
See Also:
Google Scholar search for scientific papers
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides