The Rail family of birds includes moorhens, gallinules and coots. All are marsh birds that have a chicken-like appearance but act more like wading birds and ducks. All eat a variety of seeds, and mostly aquatic insects (some land based worms and grubs too).
The Common Moorhen is black for the males and brown for the hens with a red fleshy area over their beak. The Purple Gallinule is a flashy turquoise with purple accents and the red fleshy area over the beak. The Common Coot is black with the white fleshy area over the beak. All behave fairly the same. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
The American Coots are here in this area in a big way. The numbers of Coots has increased steadily. I took these pictures at two different local lakes on Nov. 23, 2012. At one lake, I saw a small group of maybe fifty Coots. At the other lake which is fairly close to my current home here at the little farm, there are probably five hundred Coots! The flocks that are newer to the area still tend to huddle together in a large raft formation. Coots do this for security against predators. The weather here in Cumberland County, TN, has recently been very cool and getting colder by the day. The Coots are Winter visitors here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A Small Part of the Flock
The American Coots have been visiting here on our 101 acre community lake for about a month or so now. I just recently saw them flying and caught the action with my trusty camera. The American Coot, though looking a lot like a duck, is a member of the Rail bird family. Coots have huge webbed feet but also have claws. Coots also have a beak rather than a duck-like bill. The Coots are black with a white beak. The Coots also do not quack but rather whistle a thin reedy bird-like softer whistle. The Coots are great divers. They primarily eat lake, pond, or river water plants. This particular group of Coots flew up a ways to avoid an on-coming pontoon boat. I have enjoyed seeing the Coots here and believe that they will be around a few more weeks before migrating to sunnier and warmer places. I took these pictures just a few days ago. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!