Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)


French: Foulque à crête German: Kammblässhuhn Spanish: Focha moruna

Fulica cristata

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Closely related to F. atra, F. alai, F. americana, F. leucoptera and F. ardesiaca. Monotypic.


S & E Spain#R and N Morocco; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda S through Rwanda, Burundi, E DRCongo and Tanzania, W to Angola and S to South Africa; also Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

35–42 cm; male 770–910 g, female 455–790 g, unsexed 363–1236 (737) g; wingspan 75–85 cm. Differs from F. atra in overall slightly... read more


Vocabulary wide. Commonest calls: sharp, shrill “kik” or “krik”; low, reedy “kek”; shrill, trilled... read more


Chiefly frequents open fresh water of lakes, lagoons, ponds, permanent and temporary dams and vleis... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous; takes mainly aquatic vegetation, especially non-rooting submerged or floating plants and including filamentous algae (... read more


Spain and N Africa, May; Morocco, Feb–Sept; Ethiopia, Apr–Jul, Sept–Dec; Kenya and NE Tanzania, all months; W Kenya and... read more


Mainly sedentary; also nomadic and opportunistic. Local movements evident from degree of winter... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Range has decreased in both Europe and N Africa; now close to extinction in Europe; reasons for decline not clear. Locally common to... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2020). Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata). 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 30 March 2020).