Hawaiian Coot

Fulica alai




Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff with black markings.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 10

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On water, or in emergent vegetation.

Nest Material:

Aquatic vegetation.





Hawaiian Coot: Small to medium-sized waterbird with black head that has a white, blue-white, yellow or dark red frontal shield; most birds have a white shield; slate-gray body and white undertail coverts. Bill is small, usually white, but may vary, with a red-brown to black sub-terminal ring; red eyes, short tail and wings, gray-green legs and feet. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has a white throat and breast, dark gray bill and a smaller shield.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Hawaiian Coot: Breeding ranges from April to September. Three to ten buff-colored eggs sprinkled with tiny brown spots are placed in a platform nest made of aquatic and marsh vegetation. The nests can be made to float on the water or built in emergent marsh vegetation. Incubation is carried out by both sexes and lasts for 25 days. The newborns can swim immediately after hatching.

Foraging and Feeding

Hawaiian Coot: These birds feed on small creatures and vegetation, such as seeds, leaves, the stems of aquatic plants and lagoon mollusks. They pick them off the surface of freshwater and brackish wetlands, catching them with short dives, and foraging in grassy areas adjacent to wetlands. They feed by both dabbling and diving.


Hawaiian Coot: Calls are chicken-like croaking and clucking sounds, “keck-keck." Also emits short, sharp "keek s", similar to American Coot calls.

Similar Species

Hawaiian Coot: Hawaiian Gallinule has a red frontal shield and yellow-tipped, red bill.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X