Often mistaken for a duck, the American coot is the only member of the family Rallidae (which also includes the moorhens and gallinules) to range as far north as New England.
Identifying Traits (both sexes):
Similar Species: Voice: The American coot’s call is a harsh series of clucking noises, as well as a barrage of quick kuks.
Habitat: American coots live near water, and they frequently nest in marshes and reedy areas. They prefer fresh water but can often be found in salt water bodies as well.
Range: The American coot lives year-round along the Atlantic seaboard from New York south, as well as in most of the southwestern U.S. They are most often found in New England during the winter or on migration from their breeding range in Canada.
Interesting Facts: While coots are strong fliers, it takes a great deal of effort for them to get airborne. Coots can often be seen flapping their wings and running on the water’s surface for ten or twenty feet before building up enough speed to become airborne.