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The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. A close look at a coot,that small head, those scrawny legs reveals a different kind of bird entirely. Their dark bodies and white faces are common sights in nearly any open water across the continent, and they often mix with ducks. But they are closer relatives of the gangly Sandhill Crane and the nearly invisible rails than of Mallards or teal.You will find coots eating aquatic plants on almost any body of water. When swimming they look like small ducks (and often dive), but on land they look more chickenlike, walking rather than waddling. An awkward and often clumsy flier, the American Coot requires long running takeoffs to get airborne.This little one are such a delight to see in their yellows and reds,Covered in down, alert, ready to leave the nest within 6 hours of hatching.The first of the season for me in Phoenix Arizona
April 30th, 2013
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