Hawaiian Coot

Fulica alai

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

HACO

Code 6

FULALA

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable

The Hawaiian Coot is a small to medium sized waterbird that frequents freshwater and brackish habitats in lowland areas of the Hawaiian Islands. It forages for invertebrates, small creatures, seeds and leaves by diving and picking them off the surface of the water. It also forages in grassy areas adjacent to wetlands. The Hawaiian Coot is given a conservation rating of Vulnerable on account of its small population size.

SUMMARY

Overview

Hawaiian Coot: This medium-sized, chicken-like waterbird has dark gray and black plumage, a short white bill, big frontal shield, and under tail coverts. The toes are lobed, not webbed, and the eyes are red. It feeds on seeds, aquatic leaves, invertebrates and tadpoles. It has a swift direct flight with rapid wing beats, feet protruding past the tail. The sexes are similar.


Range and Habitat

Hawaiian Coot: This resident species breeds in ditches, wet taro fields, ponds, and other freshwater wetlands in lowland areas of the Hawaiian Islands. It is currently found locally on Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii. After breeding, individuals disperse to similar habitats in search of food.

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Hawaiian Coot SONGS AND CALLS

Hawaiian Coot U1

Interaction sounds between two coots.

Hawaiian Coot U2

Calls as a coot is chased by another bird.

Similar Sounding

Hawaiian Moorhen 1

Voice is a variety of cackles, squawks, and clucks.


Voice Text

"Kek, kek"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • In Hawaiian culture, it was thought to be a deity but was also considered good to eat.
  • This bird builds floating nests in just about any standing water including irrigation ditches, sewage treatment ponds, and wet taro fields.
  • A group of coots has many collective nouns, including a "codgery", "commotion", "fleet", "shoal", and "swarm" of coots.
  • The Hawaiian Coot is known as "Alae keokeo" in the Hawaiian language.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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Frontal shieldX
The area where the bill extends onto the forehead of the bird. It is often brightly colored and is meant to grab the attention of other birds.
Tail covertsX
The short tail feathers covering the base of the long tail feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X