Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra

Eurasian Coot

Fulica atra

Family: Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coot, 14 species in Australia).
Size: 32-39 cm
Distribution: Almost all of Australia except small areas in central and central-West Australia, and almost half of Southwest WA
Status: Locally Abundant to Common
Habitat: Swamps, reserviors, fresh or brackish open lakes, estuaries
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The Eurasian Coot is a bit like a duck as it is usually seen on water (and basically always either on or near water). It has a white beak and forehead, and red eye, which distinguish it from the Dusky Moorhen (which is otherwise very similar when in the water, though it has green legs which you can see when it is walking on land). The Eurasian Coot has dark grey legs.

They have flaps of skin on their toes, but they are not fully webbed like a duck.

Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Photo: Wentworth Falls Lake, Blue Mountains NSW

Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Photo: Wentworth Falls Lake, Blue Mountains NSW

Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Photo: Wentworth Falls Lake, Blue Mountains NSW

Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

Some Birdwatching Resources


Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe NEW: Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe. Based on the above larger book. It's a while since I've seen this one. The publisher's commentary says that "This slimline, compact edition contains the same information on mainland and Tasmanian birds as his best-selling handbook, the Field Guide to Australian Birds. Features include plastic jacket, QuickFind system of colour tags and Quick Index ensure durability and ease of use in the field."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)


The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight. This is the other of the two best bird field guides for Australia. It is the one preferred by many serious birdwatchers. However I find the pictures a bit dull looking for my taste — the birds all kind of look the same to me, making it harder to remember them in my mind. The illustrations are meant to be the most anatomically correct, though. The text descriptions are better than in Simpson and Day. If you want the most serious bird field guide get this one otherwise get Simpson and Day.

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Dymocks)

Click here to purchase 9th ed. from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to preorder the 9th ed. from Amazon

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Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra

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