American Coot

About the American Coot
Also known as: Mudhen, Alae Keokeo, Marsh Hen, Mud Hen
American Coot

The American Coot is a species of rail that lives in wetlands and open water across the United States as well as parts of Canada and central America. They have dark grey bodies with a white facial shield, which has a reddish central spot. They feed by foraging or diving in the water, or foraging on land.

Coot feet are not webbed; instead the toes are lobed which aids in swimming.

Coots are highly territorial during mating and breeding season and also highly aggressive in defending both territory and their young.

American Coots scoot or run across the water or ground before taking flight, which requires a lot of effort. Once airborne, however, they are strong fliers with impressive stamina.

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Details & Statistics


The American Coot is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2014 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

International Names

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