Saturday, July 16, 2011

American Coot - Juvenile

With all the traveling I did this Spring, I missed a lot of opportunities I had looked forward to having just started birding last Spring. One of those was to get some good looks and pictures of American Coot chicks. They have the craziest red and gold frizz over their black down.
While I did see a few from a distant on one trip to RNWR I squeezed in, I never got an opportunity for any decent photos. Now in mid-July, the chicks have lost the crazy kid stuff and have transitioned into a drab gray. I got some good looks at a few yesterday at RNWR's auto tour. Check out the foot of the one in the bottom image. Rail's have some of the coolest feet. I found this passage on 10,000 Birds written by Mike:
"Coots flaunt remarkable fissipalmate feet, which means their toes are lobed. This adaptation, shared with other waterbirds like grebes and phalaropes, is useful both to propel the swimming bird and to facilitate passage over matted floating vegetation. Fissipalmation is also instrumental to coots’ noted hardiness, helping the birds hold up in high temperatures by dissipating excess body heat."

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, their feet are their best feature! I think you could still find some younger coots if you keep trying... I have photos from Ridgefield from last July 24th with some bright red babies. Good luck!