Coot, a water bird that resembles a duck. The American coot is about 15 inches (38 cm) long. It has bluish-gray plumage, a black neck and head, and an ivory-white bill. Instead of being webbed, the coot's toes are fringed with scalloped flaps. Somewhat awkward in taking flight, the coot patters along the surface of the water before becoming airborne. It is a skillful diver and excellent swimmer. The female lays 8 to 15 brownish, spotted eggs in a nest built among the reeds of a freshwater marsh. The range of the coot extends from Alaska and Greenland to the West Indies.

The European coot is similar to the American coot in appearance, but has a bare patch on its head.

The American coot is Fulica americana, and the European coot is F. atra. They belong to the family Rallidae.

The American cootThe American coot has blue-gray plumage, a black neck and head, and a white bill.