The coot is a waterfowl bird, like a small duck in size, black colored, but with a white beak and big stain on the forehead. Young birds are brown, with a grey bottom and white throat.
Its long feet with long toes have skin membranes at both sides of each toe.
One of the interesting features of coots consists in presence a finger with a claw on their wings. This is a reminder about the time when wings were developing from forward extremities of reptiles. Nestlings use these claws for climbing in thickets.
Coots perfectly swim and dive, but do not like to fly. When it is necessary to move on rather small distance, they prefer to run on water, flapping wings, but not flying up.
They love shallow reservoirs with rich water vegetation and silt bottom, with thickets of reed near the banks. Here birds build their floating nests of old reed. Some nests can rise 20 cm above the surface of water. There can be one or two outlets from them to water.
Coots form pairs for all life.
At night, when the wife sits on eggs, the husband sleeps in a special "night" nest constructed nearby.
On the picture:
Displaying, males lower
heads, raise wings and tails
— and run on the water; the
sparks of water fly to all sides.
The young stay in the nest for about one day after hatching, then the entire family makes first trips, swimming on water; Nevertheless, for a long time birds come back to their nest for sleeping and warming themselves. Sometimes the parents build also small platforms — for the young to be warmed there after bathing. They carefully lay wide leaves of marsh plants broken nearby — under the kids having a rest on such platforms.
On the walk, the young continuously peep.