999. THE COOT.
Fulica atra, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 257 (1766) ; Naum. ix. p. 635, Taf. 241 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 380, pl. cvii. fig. 2 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 338 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 84 ; Dresser, vii. p. 327, pl. 504, fig. 2 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 489 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiii. p. 210 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 1001 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 180 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 360 ; Saunders, p. 519 : Lilford, iv. p. 147, pl. 63.
Foulque noire, French ; Galeirao, Portug. ; Mancon, Focha, Span. ; Folaga, Ital. ; Blasshuhn, German ; Meerkoet, Dutch ; Blishone, Norweg, and Dan. ; Sothdna, Swed. ; Nokikana, Finn. ; Lisa, Lisucha, Russ. ; Kaschkalda, Tartar ; Ghorra, Arab. ; El Ghor, Moor. ; Dasari, Hindu. ; O-ban, Jap.
Male ad. (England). Head, neck, crissum, and under tail-coverts black, the two first slightly washed with slate ; upper parts dark slaty blackish, the edge of the wing and tips of short secondaries white ; under parts slaty blue-grey ; bill and frontal plate bluish white ; legs bluish grey, the bare part of the tibia orange ; iris deep red. Culmen, with frontal plate, 2.05, gape 1.45, wing 8.2, tail 2.2, tarsus 2.25, middle toe with claw, 3.55 inch. Sexes similar.
Hab. Europe generally, becoming rarer in Northern Scandi¬navia ; Azores, Madeira, Canaries ; Egypt and North Africa ; Asia Minor, and Asia east to Japan ; north to Tarei-nor in Siberia ; N.E. Kan-su, Mongolia, Manchuria ; in winter south to the Philippines.
In the extreme northern portion of its range it is migratory, but chiefly resident in Britain and the south. It frequents marshes, ponds, and lakes where the aquatic herbage is dense and affords ample shelter. On land it runs with ease, on the water swims excellently, and dives well. It is very gregarious, but shy and wary. It takes wing heavily, but flies well when once aloft. Its food consists of seeds, buds, and tender shoots of aquatic plants, insects, small shell-fish, &c., and it feeds both in the day and at night. Its call-note is a clear, loud, almost trumpet-like cry uttered abruptly. Its nest is a large, close structure of reeds, flags, &c., lined with finer materials, and is generally placed amongst reeds or willows, and often in shallow water. The eggs, 7 to 8, sometimes as many as 12, in number, are usually deposited in May, and are yellowish grey or stone-ochreous, dotted and marked with brownish black, and measure about 2.08 by 1.48.
In America our Coot is replaced by F. americana, which has the lateral under tail-coverts white.
999. Fulica atra
999. THE COOT.