Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Common Coot (Fulica atra)


French: Foulque macroule German: Blässhuhn Spanish: Focha común
Other common names: Eurasian Coot, Australian Coot (australis)

Fulica atra


, 1758,



Closely related to F. cristata, F. alai, F. americana, F. leucoptera and F. ardesiaca. Described form langkensis (from Sri Lanka) included in nominate race; anggiensis (from Arfak Mts, in NW New Guinea) regarded as a synonym of lugubris. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. a. atra Linnaeus, 1758 – Europe, N Africa, Azores and Canaries E through C Asia to Japan and S to Indian Subcontinent, including Sri Lanka; winters S to W & NE Africa, SE Asia and Philippines.
  • F. a. lugubris S. Müller, 1847 – E Java (formerly?) and NW New Guinea.
  • F. a. novaeguineae Rand, 1940 – C New Guinea.
  • F. a. australis Gould, 1845 – Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. Presumably this subspecies recorded regularly in Flores and Timor-Leste (at least one breeding record on latter#R#R).
  • Descriptive notes

    36–39 cm; nominate male 610–1200 (902) g, female 610–1150 (770) g; race australis male 481–660 (568) g, female 476–609 (552) g, unsexed... read more


    Combat call of male a sharp, explosive “pssi”, of female a short, croaking “ai... read more


    Mainly large, still or slow-moving waters. Inhabits lakes, pools, ponds, reservoirs, barrages,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous, but primarily vegetarian. Eats mainly vegetative parts and seeds of aquatic and sometimes terrestrial plants, including algae... read more


    Europe, Feb–Sept, mostly Mar–Jul; Azerbaijan, Apr–Jun; N Africa, Mar–Jun; Kashmir and N India, May–Sept; S... read more


    Present all year in warm and temperate regions, although not necessarily resident, but mainly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Nominate race has expanded range in Europe since late 19th century; marked population fluctuations in many areas due to hard winters... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Common Coot (Fulica atra). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 January 2020).