The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), also known as coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. The scientific name is from Latin; Fulica is “coot”, and atra is “black”. It is found in Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa. The Australian subspecies is known as the Australian coot.
The coot breeds across much of the Old World on freshwater lakes and ponds. The Eurasian coot is 32–42 cm (13–17 in) long and weighs 585–1,100 g (1.290–2.425 lb), and is largely black except for the white frontal shield. This is a noisy bird with a wide repertoire of crackling, explosive, or trumpeting calls, often given at night. The coot is an omnivore, and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds, as well as algae, vegetation, seeds and fruit. It shows considerable variation in its feeding techniques, grazing on land or in the water.
The Eurasian coot is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.