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A coot and a Heron. | by Alexandra Rudge. Peace & love!
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A coot and a Heron.

The American Coot (Fulica americana) is a bird of the family Rallidae, inhabiting wetlands and open water bodies.


The American Coot measures 34–43 cm (13–17 in) in length and 58–71 cm (23–28 in) across the wings. Adults have a short thick white bill and white frontal shield, which usually has a reddish-brown spot near the top of the bill between the eyes. Body mass in females ranges from 427 to 628 g (0.94 to 1.38 lb) and in males from 576 to 848 g (1.27 to 1.87 lb).


Upon close examination, a dark band can be distinguished at the bill tip. The body is grey with the head and neck darker than the rest of the body. Its legs are yellowish, with lobed toes in place of webbed feet. American Coot chicks have black bodies with bright red head and beak, and orange plumes around the neck. The bird's call is a high-pitched squeaking honk similar to that of a goose, but with a more hollow sound.


The American coot requires a great deal of effort to become airborne, pedaling across the water with its feet before lifting off. The way in its their heads bob when it walks or swims has earned it the name "marsh hen"or "mud hen". Though it appears to be a weak flier, like most rails it has considerable stamina once airborne. This species has crossed the Atlantic to reach western Europe at least 23 times since records began, including 12 records in the Azores and four in Great Britain. In December 2003, an individual of this species attempted to overwinter in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Two sightings have occurred in Tasmania as well.


The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North and Central America as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores, England and the Netherlands. An all-white population found only in the Caribbean and southern Florida was once treated as a separate species and known as the Great White Heron.



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Taken on November 23, 2013